In today's very modern, provocative society being a "sell out" has some rather negative implications. Selling out generally means that someone has turned their back on an ideology or belief that they have commonly been associated with. Selling out can also be brought about by making a change in the way one acts. In mainstream society, a sell out is often a betrayer or someone who has backed down on previous beliefs to find an easier road.
So... if being a sell out has negative implications, why would I want to be one? Well, it all depends on perception because I do believe that being a sell out can be turned around to be a positive thing.
I want to be a sell out to the things that surround us in our culture. I want to turn away from the things of this world. Just take a moment to think of some of the things that surround us daily. Think of the images that we see on TV -- even when we are trying to watch "good" shows, immoral images assault us from commercials. Think of the women's rights push to ignore the preciousness of an unborn life in support of abortion. Think of the profanity that easily slips from people's mouths. Think of the crime that fills the news because of a lack or morality in our society.
"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." I Corinthians 3:19
So therefore, I want to sell out to the commonality of our culture and turn in a search for the wisdom of God. I want to turn off the television. I want to submerge myself in the word of God and seek His way.
My oldest daughter Jayla, avoiding bedtime one night, took the first letters of all our names and, without repeating any letters, rearranged them to spell the word JAMES and then she added all of our ages together to come up with 121. She then turned to James 1:21 and "adopted" this verse as our family verse. It says,
"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
Jayla felt that this verse was very fitting for us because we have actively tried to turn our family away from worldly ways. I have removed my children from public school and a culture that I do not approve of to home school them. We have turned away from many of the items we find on clothing racks and strive to dress modestly. We turn to Christian music for our entertainment. We study from the word of God together.
James 1:22 - 24 continues by saying, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what is says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
It is not merely enough to spend time in church on Sunday or to read a few verses out of the Bible each day. We must strive to take what we read and apply it to our daily lives. We must identify what there is in our life that is a detractor from living a Christian life and remove it.
This is not always an easy path. I have a friend who was telling me just the other day of a show on television that she loves and has not missed an episode of in years. However, this year the show is going in a direction that does not support the Christian ideals that she has, and she is making the very difficult decision to walk away from the show. This is an emotional move for her. On the surface, you can say, "oh, it's just a television show." But when there are things in our life that we enjoy, not matter how big or small, that we have to move away from, there can be emotions that make those moves difficult.
God never promised that following His way would be easy. In fact, the Bible promises us times of trial.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3
The trials that we can face range from what we view as minimal things, like my friend not wanting to give up her television show, to life-shaking events... oftentimes new Christians realize that they must temper their association with old friends or give up old habits. There are many in the world, and unfortunately this is beginning to reach us more and more in the United States, who are persecuted for believing in and following God. Yet, the Bible clearly says that we should find joy in the tribulation.
Matthew 5:14 tells us "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden." We should sell out to the world and shine for Christ no matter the trials or tribulation that we face.
This indeed is easier said than done. It's hard when people turn against us because we seem "conservative," or "goody goody," or "self righteous." But regardless of the terms that we can be labeled with, we should strive to have those terms apply to us because we are attempting to live as God has directed us to in His word. Living in a manner that sets apart is not always easy. Yet that is what we must do. We must set ourselves apart from the ways of the world.
I want to sell out to the ugliness that surrounds me. I am on a journey, and my destination is Paradise.
"Do not love the world or anything in the word. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17