Living a godly life in the military can be tough for anyone. Pressure to conform to an established culture can be overwhelming. Those who resist risk being ridiculed, harassed, and even threatened. This pressure is especially strong for the single Soldier, Airman, Sailor, Marine, or Guardsman.
While I was serving in the Air Force during the Gulf War, I was the one bringing the pressure to bear on a fellow Airman. He was outspoken about his faith in Christ and didn’t party, curse, or laugh at my off-color jokes. Instead he would invite me to church, tell me about Jesus, and try to be my friend. I hated this guy.
I would make fun of him, his wife, his church, and his God. I participated with groups harassing and ridiculing him for his faith and his unwillingness to join us in conduct that violated his standards. He never gave in, never quit, and never, ever compromised.
Though being a strong Christian in a culture of conformity is tough, it can be done. When everyone else is getting drunk, shacking up, or living recklessly, you may want to fit in as one of the team. But compromise is not the answer. (See Galatians 5:16–26.)
Jesus was also on the outside. He was betrayed by His own people, and one of His best friends turned Him in for a crime He didn’t even commit (John 1:11; 18:5; Acts 2:36). Jesus was a true nonconformist. While everyone else was going along with the program, Jesus stood for what was right, not what was popular.
Being a nonconformist in the Christian sense does not mean that we are different just to be different. It means that we are different because we are following Jesus, and Jesus is different. He is more than different; He is exceptional, and we are to live exceptional lives for Him. (See Romans 12:1–2; Ephesians 4:1–2.)
For three years, I harassed that guy in my shop for being a Christian. But one night, something happened. The presence of God entered my barracks, and Jesus touched my life. I surrendered to Him that night and started my journey of following Jesus.
It’s because of one Airman’s faithful, uncompromising love for me that I am a Christian today. He refused to give in to the culture of conformity that I was neck deep in. Commit today to be exceptional for Christ, and go against the tide of the typical military lifestyle. God will use your faithfulness to bring others into a relationship with Himself.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.