Daily Devotionals

100% Week 4 Monday

“You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? Malachi 3:14

When was the last time you felt like you “stuck out like a sore thumb”? My answer is this past Halloween. I got together with friends. We all agreed to dress up. What I did not realize was that halfway through the night, everyone had planned to change. I had not been informed that the plan had changed! When everyone ditched their costumes, I certainly felt like I stood out, and it was not fun. The truth is, not many of us enjoy standing out. We can even feel embarrassed by it.

While never easy or fun, we all stand out at times. However, Scripture teaches that if we follow Jesus, we will stand out and look different from the world. It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth the sacrifice. 

We find the people of Israel in the book of Malachi acknowledging that following God meant standing out. They questioned why they spent so much time living differently than the rest of the world when they saw the disobedient and wicked people thriving. Malachi 3:14 shows us their complaint, “What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sin?” Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever wondered why you made the right decisions and have ended up being left out while people living it up seem to be thriving? You are not alone. Living lives that honor God means looking and living differently than the rest of the world. God assured the Israelites in Malachi 3 that one day God would reward the righteous and the wicked would answer for their behavior (verses 17-18). Ultimately, they would be rewarded or face the consequences based on how they lived.

Jesus also taught that people who followed Him would stand out and even face persecution for following Him. When talking about upcoming persecution and hardships His followers would experience, Jesus said, “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all” (Matthew 10:27). In other words, Jesus was teaching His followers not to worry when they faced persecution or hardship for their faith because ultimately, the truth would be revealed. So when you stand out for being a follower of Christ, take heart. While it might be painful now, God sees everything and rewards us for our faith. That is worth more than any social pecking order! So get ready and embrace being different!

Moving Toward Action

Sometimes when we feel like we stand out from the rest of the world, it can be helpful to remember our purpose and goal. Spend some time writing about what your goal is. What kind of life do you want to live? What do you want people to say about you at the end of your life? How do you want to honor God with your life? Write these things down. Let your purpose and your goals remind you to keep your eyes on Jesus, even when that means feeling like you stick out like a sore thumb and even when you have to make sacrifices. I promise that anything you sacrifice pales in comparison to what Jesus has waiting for you if you have committed your life to Him.

Going Deeper

Matthew 10:1-42 (NLT)

Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. Here are the names of the twelve apostles:

first, Simon (also called Peter),

then Andrew (Peter’s brother),

James (son of Zebedee),

John (James’s brother),




Matthew (the tax collector),

James (son of Alphaeus),


Simon (the zealot),

Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.

“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

‘I have come to set a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

“Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”