Quite often differences can be noticed within a glance. We see others and we can immediately identify our differences. The obvious characteristics such as physical appearance, race, ethnicity, and social class are among the many differences that can be noticed almost immediately. The danger in differences is that we began to compare our differences and we measure ourselves to others, when in fact, God strategically designs differences. When we see differences amongst each other instead of shying away, we should draw near as we are all created in His image (Gen. 1:27). We are commanded to love Him first then love our neighbor (and just to provide some clarity, your neighbor is any individual you encounter).
About one year ago I was running errands during the day, which I love because the stores are always empty and everyone is at work. I visited one of my favorite stores and picked up a few items for my home and the one thing most women love, shoes! They were on sale! I could not resist. After, I decided to go get a manicure. Without a scheduled appointment, I knew I would wait at least an hour. To my surprise, I sat in the waiting area for approx. 5-10 min. The owner instructed me to pick a color and have a seat with nail technician, Cookie. I sat down and smiled, we spoke briefly, she began and I watch television contently. After about 5 minutes or so, I began to feel this tug in my heart. Holy Spirit was telling me to talk to Cookie. In my efforts to be obedient I acknowledged God, but I also made every excuse why this was not a good time talk, “but God, there is a language barrier”, “what should I say?”, “But this is my time to relax”, etc. Finally, after a little tug of war I decided to have small talk in hopes that it would lead to something magnificent, something I could call my husband and tell them about, but it didn’t. We did talk and it was brief and a little uncomfortable but I did it and I was proud that I made a decision to obey despite fear and being uncomfortable.
I left the nail salon with my pretty pink nails feeling accomplished but also a feeling a sense of uncertainty, as I did not fully understand what God was trying to do it that awkward exchange. Later in the week, God revealed to me during my devotion time that He loves all people. He disclosed to me that He was aware of the challenge in the nail salon, but He needed me to understand that we ALL need Him, even those who look different and those who aren’t aware that they need Him. He also challenged me and said, “Archelle, don’t just talk to people that look like you, get out of your comfort zone and talk to everyone, love on everyone, they all need me”. In that instance, I realized that being comfortable is a pitfall. Following Jesus is about challenging ourselves daily to look more like Him.
Despite the many differences in the body of Christ, we are better together. We must operate as one, in unity, with the help and leading of the Holy Spirit. Unity does not snuff out individuality; it promotes oneness under one cause. We are uniquely different by design, but in order for us to be truly unified we must see each other as He designed, as family- sons and daughters of the one true King. I challenge you ladies to go a little deeper, be intentional about connecting with others, doing life with people who do not look like you, spark conversations even when it’s challenging. Take a step outside of your comfort zone and lets be better together, not just on a Sunday morning, but every day! (Eph 2:14-16).
Devoted Devotional By Archelle Bowen