April 22, 2019

Living Set Apart

Christians talk about living lives set apart but what does that really mean? Is it possible to not follow what the world does?

Read carefully the definitions of the key words: living; set; apart.

  • Living: having life; exhibiting the life or motion of nature
  • Set: to place with care or deliberate purpose; to direct with fixed attention
  • Apart: at a little distance; away from one another; as a separate unit

First of all, the term ‘living set apart’ shows action in that we are living, active participants in an ongoing Christian faith.

Jesus said, “… if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it will obey you.” Luke 17:6 (NIV).

Having faith is showing action, which connects us to God. It’s not a dull, boring, inactive lifestyle when we are living for Jesus.

When we begin to talk about being set apart it’s beneficial to look at it in three different ways.

  • The first is that we can be set apart by something or someone.
  • We can also be set apart for something or someone.
  • Lastly, we are set apart from something or someone.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; …” What an amazing gift God gave us! Not only did He know you before you were formed but He also set you apart. If you refer to the above definition, you’ll see that God ‘placed you with deliberate purpose’ or ‘directed His fixed attention’ on you–before you were born. God is very intentional about His thoughts toward you. Being set apart is a focused and determined ongoing action that God continually shows His love to us. We can be confident in knowing that we are set apart by God, Himself.

Not only has God set us apart to be part of His family, but the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit can also call you out and set you apart for opportunities. Acts 13:2 (ESV) “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” When we worship, pray, and fast, we need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit is speaking toward us.

He’s speaking, but are you listening? What is God setting you apart for?

The teachings of Jesus and the example of His life show how He became the standard of living a life set apart, as Hebrews 7:26 (NIV) says, “Such a high priest truly meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted about the heavens.”

Romans 15:8 tells us, “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant …”
We live our lives by watching the blueprint Jesus set before us. Jesus repeatedly walks and talks with God, and shows how to be a servant to others. He knew His purpose and it wasn’t to conform to the world or to try to fit in, but to do His Father’s will. Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We will begin to understand what we need to be set apart from by spending time in worship, prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible. This is how we get to know the heart of the Father, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the life of Jesus.

How do we practically show others that we are living a life that is set apart?

  • Live with joy: The world tends to take on a negative view but living set apart means finding the God-given joy in your world and letting others see your joy ( see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  • Be known by others about what you are for, not what you are against: Christianity is about freedom from a life of sin, not about rules. Know God’s heart toward you and others.
  • By your love. Others will know you are a disciple of Jesus by showing love (see John 13:35; John 15:13).

Live an active faith-filled life knowing you’ve been set apart by God, the Creator of the universe, for a purpose, to be an example to others of what you’ve been saved from.