If you want a religion to make you comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
– C S Lewis, God in the Dock
There is a popular belief that faith in Christ opens up the doors to abundance, success and all-round good health. We have bought into the notion that becoming a Christian is a ticket to peace, comfort, and security. However, whatever we might say concerning Biblical references to prosperity, healing, or success, one thing is abundantly clear: the Scriptures portray God’s people as an odd lot.
God’s redemptive covenant, starting with Abraham, set God’s people apart as His chosen family. Along with this wonderful privilege came the stark reality that they would be a strange tribe in a fallen world. In a world which has declared hostility against God, His covenant people would be seen as enemies.
All through history, God’s elect have borne the cost of being an odd people. Abraham’s trust in God was in marked contrast to his nephew, Lot, and the surrounding cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Joseph was thrown into prison for his integrity. The Israelites were detested by the Egyptians and were an odd community among the idol-worshipping tribes of Canaan. David’s childlike faith in God proved a point of envy to the backslidden King Saul. The godliness of Elijah set him against the false prophets of Baal. On account of their devotion to the God of heaven, Daniel and his friends attracted sufficient hostility from the Babylonian system to be thrown into a lions’ den and a furnace, respectively. And what shall we say of Peter, James, and Paul, who endured not only opposition, but also imprisonment, suffering, and death just for following Christ?
No one put the issue more pointedly than Jesus:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” (Matt. 10:25)
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)
The believer is odd because he marches to a different drummer. He seeks to obey God and not merely go along with the views and practices of his neighbours and family. He sees the world differently because he looks at it through God’s eyes. And this can be costly. It will cost him acceptance by society, some comforts, some freedoms, and perhaps his life. Hence the warning by Jesus above. If our message has no place for this conflict, it can hardly be the gospel which Jesus and the apostles preached.
As God calls us to be the odd one out among the peoples of the world, He promises to be our God. While we may endure the scorn of the world, we know we have His smile. The sneer and hatred of a hostile culture are more than offset by the joy we have in Christ. We may be odd, yet it is a positive oddity. To be in union with God, through Christ, is to be above presidents and kings.
So we invite you, dear reader, to be odd – to be positively odd.
Dayo Adewoye works with an insurance company in Lagos as a Customer Service professional. He tweets @DChristianMind and blogs regularly at The Christian Mind. An earlier version of this article was published on The Christian Mind in 2017.