Moody’s seventh president, Joseph M. Stowell, received plenty of attention growing up as a pastor’s kid. However, he admits it was not always the good kind of notoriety. Congregants expected the young Stowell to stand up straight and be an example. The young Joe would often get into mischief. He often wished blending in would have been easy, but as he began to make his faith his own he realized that the Lord had called him to be different in another way.
In John’s gospel, Jesus talked about being different in a world that seeks conformity. He had just finished a lengthy discourse with His closest friends about His imminent departure. They did not fully grasp it yet, but His ministry on earth was coming to an end. He had been speaking in figurative language, but in John 16:25–28 He began to address their misconceptions. It wasn’t until then that the disciples had begun to believe that Jesus came from God (v. 30).
Jesus warned them that a time would come when their belief in Him as the true Messiah and Redeemer would be tested (vv. 31–32). However, Jesus gave them the hope that He knew what they needed, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33). Stowell comments, “Following Christ has never been about ‘blending in.’ Following Him means to be like Him, to respond to life and relate to people the way He did. . . . You will no doubt have opportunities to be different—to go against the flow. Don’t be intimidated. Make a difference by daring to be different for Jesus.” Strive to be a Jesus-follower-difference-maker.
>> Did you notice the Bible doesn’t say in this world you may have trouble? It says you will have trouble. Being a difference-maker is hard work. It can be risky and uncomfortable. It may cost you friendships, relationships, or a job. But rest assured that Jesus has overcome the world and will help you become a difference maker for Him.