Most all of us know someone who is graduating around this time of the year, be it from high school, college, graduate school, tech school, or elsewhere.  Multitudes of graduation speeches will be presented (and will for the most part be quickly forgotten).  But I have heard a few golden nuggets of practical knowledge over the years as I have attended more than a few graduation ceremonies.  The Bible also has encouragement for those about to enter a new and exciting chapter in their lives as well.

The apostle Paul from the New Testament encourages us be different.  In what way?  Romans 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy,…, do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  It’s difficult to be different.  Many want to be a part of the “in” crowd.  When Paul says, “Do not be conformed…,” he has more in mind than designer clothing.  He means my life as God’s child.  For me, life leads to heaven and is not just lived out on earth.  My talents are for serving Christ, not just for making a living.  God’s commandments are guidelines for peaceful living, not the police officer’s rules to squeeze me in or close me out.  As God’s child, I’m different, and my Lord wants me to show it, difficult as that may be at times.

With one short phrase, Paul points to the motivation.  “I urge you,” he said, “in view of God’s mercy.”  That phrase takes me to Bethlehem where I see God’s loving heart beating in the chest of His Son.  Next, it leads to Calvary where I see His loving heart stop beating because of my sin.  Then, it directs me to the Word, the baptismal font, and the Communion rail, where His loving heart invites me to come and gives me faith to respond.  Finally, it points me to heaven, where I will be clasped to His loving heart forever.  Only such an incredible, unconditional, deep redeeming love such as His can make me want to be definitely different.


From one who strives to live differently,

Pastor Steve