It is a battle to remain distinct as God’s people, and not become a cheap duplicate. ~~~ Church, a desire to be like the world makes you forfeit the very feature that makes you great. Being like the world means you lose your distinctiveness/mission. The Israelites cried out that they want “To be like all the nations” which is stated at the beginning of this passage (vs.5) and at the end of the passage (vs. 20). And the great reality that is lost on the people of Israel is that God never intended His people to be “like” the other nations. In fact, their distinctiveness was to be a hallmark feature of who they were. We could turn to countless passages that make this clear, but I want you to understand this. One of the reasons God has not called or led his people to be like other nations was in order to set His people off from them, to make them distinct, to stand out, so that the other nations would see the grace and blessing of God upon them. Their distinctiveness was in no way meant to keep them from the good things that life has to offer, but the very opposite, to help them enjoy all that life has to offer. And neither was their distinctiveness meant to be God’s way of turning his back on the other nations, but as the means of Him reaching out to them. There was a fundamental reason that is cited time and again throughout the OT about why Israel was NOT to be like the other nations, and it had to do with their mission. And the same goes for us. We have a mission. We have a purpose for our existence. We exist to bring the joy of knowing Christ to the nations, starting with Hope, Arkansas. And a big part of how we fulfill that mission is in being trustingly obedient to our KING. How are we to show that there is abundant life in Christ and fullness of joy if we continually say to Him in front of the world, “I know a better way. I have a better idea. I have a different purpose.” Each time you say that and live that out, the spotlight turns from being on Christ to being on yourself. So it is a battle to remain distinct as God’s people, and not become a cheap duplicate. It is a battle to be trustingly obedient. We must fight this battle, because if we do not, then by losing our distinctiveness, we lose our mission.