When I think of being set apart, I think of the special china dishes that mom reserves for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. We don’t use those special dishes every day; they’re reserved for a special purpose and a special time. And that’s how God sees us: we are reserved for His special Kingdom projects and purposes.
But it sure can be easy to get caught up in the everyday responsibilities of life and forget that God sets us apart for His Kingdom. Entertainment, responsibilities, and busyness can easily consume much of our time and energy; and if we’re not careful, we can lose sight of God’s purposes for our lives.
God reminded Jeremiah of his purpose in Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [chose] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah was probably distracted and dismayed by all that was happening around him; he had witnessed many fellow Jews be captured and taken to foreign lands. He probably didn’t expect that he could be a part of God’s solution for His people.
In fact, when God told Jeremiah His plans for his life, Jeremiah responded, “I’m too young, and I don’t know what to say!” (Jeremiah 1:6). When Jeremiah lost sight of his set-apart status, God told him 3 things (Jeremiah 1:7-8):
- Age is irrelevant: It doesn’t matter how old or how young we are. If we are followers of Jesus, then we are set apart for His purposes. As believers, we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15).
- God will empower us: God will help us know what to say and what to do. Remember that He’s given us His Holy Spirit to guide us every step of the way.
- Don’t be afraid: As a young man, Jeremiah lacked some life experience and probably felt like God could have chosen someone more qualified to be His prophet. But God knew that Jeremiah was perfectly created (even from his mother’s womb) to do the job.
Jeremiah decided to embrace God’s plan for his life, setting himself apart for what God wanted for him. As a result, God used Jeremiah powerfully to speak to a nation and turn it back to Himself.
Not only do we set ourselves apart FROM the worldly system, but we also set ourselves apart TO God’s Kingdom and system. This is a daily choice that we need to consciously make. We remember that, just like Jeremiah, we were created for His purposes and His plan. And when worldly distractions or sin try to derail us, or our own fears or insecurities try to tell us otherwise, we keep our affections and focus set on God’s Kingdom and remain set apart for His glory.