He goes against the stream of the world’s ways, notions, and customs. “What will men say?” is no longer a turning point with him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which most around him call happiness. He cannot enjoy their enjoyments—they weary him; they appear to him vain, unprofitable, and unworthy of an immortal being. He overcomes the fear of the world. He is content to do many things which all around him think unnecessary, to say the least. They find fault with him—it does not move him. They ridicule him—he does not give way. He loves the praise of God more than the praise of man. He fears offending Him more than giving offense to man.
He has counted the cost. He has taken his stand. It is a small thing with him now whether he is blamed or praised. His eye is upon Him who is invisible. He is resolved to follow Jesus wherever he goes. It may be necessary in this following to come out from the world and be separate. The regenerate man will not shrink from doing so. Tell him that he is unlike other people, that his views are not the views of society generally, and that he is making himself singular and peculiar—you will not shake him. He is no longer the servant of fashion and custom. To please the world is quite a secondary consideration with him. His first aim is to please God.
Reader, I place this mark also before you. What would the Apostle say about you? Are you born of God?
J. C. Ryle (1816 – 1900)