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Set Apart
Photo: Erik Urgiles
What makes you feel confident about yourself? Is it your friends – your clothing – your popularity? As teens, we find it easy to rely on these things. I’m as vulnerable as anyone! We constantly wonder, “Am I wearing the right clothes, listening to the right music, and hanging out with the right people?” In exchange for our efforts, our confidence fluctuates, depending on the response we receive. If we really think about it, it’s not the happiest way to live. But there is another way. 

My friend Michael* has chosen this separate way. When asked how he faces peer pressure in public school, he finds it hard to see the attraction of typical peer-dependent high school life. His peers may think he’s odd and different, but he truly doesn’t care. Michael knows that as a Christ-follower, he has all the assurance he needs from a different source – Christ Himself. He’s outside of the usual high school peer groups. He loves math and astronomy, reads authors like C.S. Lewis, has friendships with people of all ages and spends summers working with kids at a computer science summer camp. His worldview is tremendously larger than most teens! 

I see this difference in my friend Kristin* as well. She, unlike Michael, attends a private Christian school. But like him, she has stepped outside of the typical peer influence. She looks to her Lord and Prince for all the confidence she needs. There’s a happy light about her that always inspires me. Kristin’s life reflects the confidence without fitting into the mold followed by many teens. She avoids frivolous dating relationships, recognizing that she isn’t ready for a serious relationship. She longs to deepen her passion for God.

I want this confidence. I don’t want my security to depend on my friends and peers, but on the God Who saved me and is working in my life to make me more like Him. I believe Jesus is calling us teens to a set apart life, different from the typical world most high schoolers are living in. It’s not easy. Everything in our culture is pulling us away from this calling. But when we choose it, God will do incredible things in our lives. A British young man caught the vision of what this can look like in our lives as young people and here’s what he saw. Do you want to be a part of this army?

The Vision is an Army of Young People.

You see bones? I see an army. And they are FREE from materialism…
They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence…

They don't need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: "COME ON!"… 

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes. Winners. Martyrs. Who can stop them? Can hormones hold them back? Can failure succeed? …

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive…inside.

On the outside? They hardly care. They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide…   

Herald the weirdo's! Summon the losers and the freaks. Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes. They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension…

And this vision will be…because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God.**

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By Danae Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

*Not their real names.
**Excerpted from “The Vision”, ©2000 by 24-7Prayer.com. You can read this piece in its entirety here.

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