Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. (2 Cor. 6:17)

“IT’S NOT FAIR! Everyone else can . . .” What parents haven’t heard those words at any given week of any given month? My husband and I certainly have—from all three kids. Our standard answer was, “Well we’re not everyone’s parents, and we’re saying no.” I’m also sure not “everyone’s parents” were that permissive! We didn’t say no because we wanted to be hateful parents. We said it because as responsible adults, we were aware of the possible ramifications for our children. As Christians, we had a different set of standards than those of the world. We also knew that in other homes or circumstances the kids may not be adequately supervised, and we set clear rules for what we knew was best for them.

Do we sometimes want to say to God, “It’s not fair! Why can’t we . . . ?” God wants us to live by different standards than those of the world. For instance, increasingly in our culture couples living together is almost the norm. So how do young adults avoid those sorts of temptations when “everyone else” is doing it? The only way is to instill in them godly principles and encourage them to be separate from the world’s standards by the only means possible: God’s Spirit empowering them.

God doesn’t tell us to be different in order to be a spoil-sport. He wants us to walk close to Him, which means He wants what is best for us—not purity for purity’s sake, but for the sake of our loving relationship with God and our neighbors.

Ask God to show you where you need to be different from those around you.

Shirley Corder is a registered nurse, pastor’s wife, and cancer survivor. She lives with her husband near the sea in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.