13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV
God has made each of us different, but there is one thing that every human has in common, we were all born in sin into a sinful world. We have all succumbed to those fleshly desires that kept us from enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us. When we have those thoughts that we might be better than others we need to be reminded that there was a time when we lived in ignorance of the goodness and the graciousness of God. Paul warns us in Romans not to think of ourselves as better than others.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 NIV
In Philippians, Paul takes it a step further and advises us to put others and their interests above ourselves and our interests.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. –Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV
If we practice doing this instead of being judgmental, we will be following the example that Jesus set for us. If we have this mindset and focus on the fact that the only difference in us and them is the grace that God has so generously given unto us, it will cause us to show those around us the same kind of grace and forgiveness that God has shown to us. That is a step toward being holy even as God is holy.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.–Galatians 5:22-26 (NLT)
If we are obedient to the leading of God’s Spirit in our lives, people will know that we are different from the world. They should be able to see that our focus and our desires are not on pleasing ourselves, but on pleasing God. If they can see that in our daily lifestyle, then they will be attracted to Christ because they, too, are looking for love, joy, and peace. If our lifestyles are not producing these fruits, then perhaps, we need to spend more time with the Keeper of the vineyard. He alone can produce this kind of fruit. But He won’t force us to produce it, even though He could. We must be willing to allow Him to work in us pruning the dead limbs and giving new life to the rest. Pruning is not pleasant to the plant, yet, it is necessary for growth. I once owned an arbor of Golden Muscadines. Each year, the vines produced smaller and less fruit. I pruned the vines back to about 18 inches high and fertilized them. It took 2 years but when the vines came back, they were full of life and produced much larger fruit. The fruit was so abundant that I gave muscadines to the whole neighborhood. The fruit was also much sweeter. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to do the work inside you and you will love the end result.