Should we be fitting in as Christians?
The desire to fit in is totally normal. One of the biggest insecurities we often have is whether people like us or not, right? We all have a desire on one level or another to be liked by people.
This could include people at school, which may mean people accepting you for who you are, being okay to hang out with them, and people talking to you at lunch. In a work context this could mean people talk to you in the hallway over a coffee, they include you in their office jokes, or they invite you out to lunch and drinks with the rest of the team. In a church context, this could even mean that you’re one of those people that everyone knows, everyone likes, and you’re part of the cool, “in” crowd.
Pretty frequently, our desire to fit in can take priority over letting people get to know us for who we truly are. Fitting in can often be quite superficial and can influence the way that we walk, act dress or speak, based on what we think other people want to hear. Have you ever noticed that your personality changes based on who you are around? Is there a certain group of people you try harder to fit in with? If you answered yes, then you’re in the same boat as so many people!
It takes people years to get comfortable with not fitting into every conversation, and that’s okay! It takes time, practice and confidence to be comfortable with who you are. One of the biggest blessings in life can be finding a group of people who truly know you, accept you, and love you for who you are.
It’s worth noting that society also pushes us pretty hard to be this “perfect” person. All advertisements feed on our emotions and entice us to buy a product by going “hey, here’s a perfect person and if you want to look/be like this, you need to buy our product.” What we forget is that the person behind the ad is professional dressed, has had their makeup done, are freshly tanned, have the perfect lighting and are photoshopped. Even though we know this on one level, we always fall into the comparison trap.
What does the Bible say about fitting in?
We’ve established that fitting in is a huge theme in the world today, and it’s something we all strive for, but in every situation we need to look to the Bible for guidance.
Romans 12:2 says “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This verse tells us to do the exact opposite of fit in. The world tells us that we need to be liked, loved and wanted by all, but the Bible tells us to be different. We weren’t made to fit in, we were made to fulfil our calling in Christ and stand out.
2 John 15:18-20 says “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Here, Jesus is telling us that the world hated him too. Jesus stood out. He wasn’t loved and accepted by all, and certainly wasn’t popular for the reasons we would value today. If we aren’t hated a christian, we probably aren’t standing out enough.
Another verse is James 4:4 which says “you unfaithful people! Don’t you know that love for this evil world is hatred toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” If we love the world and are so desperate to fit in, it’s being unfaithful to God. We cannot have one foot in the world and desire to fit in, and then one foot in the kingdom and be set apart.
So, the Bible says we should stand out – but how do we do that?
From what we’ve discussed above, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t called to fit in as Christians – it’s the opposite! We are to stand out, be set apart, pursue godly things. And it’s great to know this, but it’s not always easy to do. Let’s dive into some practical tips:
Tip 1: Get into the word
The first tip is to read your Bible. Study what it says about Christians – what does it say we should pursue? How did the disciples live? Were they persecuted for their faith too? The bible will always be our source of truth for how to live and what God wants of us. The more that you can read it and get that truth into your heart, the better off you’ll be.
Tip 2: Surround yourself with good people
The second tip is to surround yourself with believers and other people to love and accept you. However, this doesn’t mean you should surround yourself with people who don’t want to challenge you to be better. There’s a huge issue in society at the moment where we have to just love and accept everyone as they are, even if what they are doing is bad, for the sake of “acceptance.” This is wrong on so many levels. You should surround yourself with people who love you, see who you are and call out the most godly aspects of you. When you’re surrounded with other people who stand out and challenge you to grow, you fit in.
Tip 3: Ask yourself “why”
The third tip, and this won’t be for everyone, is to ask yourself why you don’t feel like you fit in. Why do you desire to fit in so badly? Sometimes we have a much deeper issue going on where we don’t feel worthy as a person. If this is you, I’d encourage you to press into this more. Wanting to fit in often comes from a place of feeling unworthy, so if we can understand why that’s happening and get to the core issue, we can retrain our brain and start to get new, healthy thoughts that align with what the bible says. Below are some verses that speak about our worth, so if this is something you’re struggling with, read and meditate on these verses as a start:
- Psalm 139: 13-14
- Isaiah 40:31
- Luke 12:7
- Ephesians 2:10
Tip 4: Take your thoughts captive
The fourth bit of advice is to take your thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 2:5 commands us to take every thought captive to the obedience of christ. Every day we have hundreds and thousands of thoughts going through our head – some are positive, but most are negative. The Bible doesn’t tell us to feed into these thoughts and blindly accept them, it tells us to stop and take those thoughts captive. Take responsibility for the thoughts that are going on in your head and start to be more intentional about capturing and shutting down those negative thoughts.
Tip 5: Take it to God
The final tip is to take it to God. If you’re feeling flat and overwhelmed, pray about it. Go to God for refuge. Philippians 4:7 says “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Seek out this peace. God is faithful and he will give it to you when you cast your anxieties on him.
Want more? Listen to our podcast episode, “Fit in, or stand out?” where we discuss whether we should fit in, or stand out as Christians. We explore what it actually means to fit in, what the Bible says about it, and some practical tips for having a godly confidence.
Written by gracebuckman
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