How to Be Yourself, not Someone Else
"But who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (Romans 9:20 TEV)
Since God knows what's best for us, we should gratefully accept the way he has fashioned us. The Bible says, "But who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (Romans 9:20 TEV)
Your shape was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn't resent it or reject it. Instead of trying to reshape yourself to be like someone else, you should celebrate the shape God has given only to you. "Christ has given each of us special abilities - whatever he wants us to have out of his rich storehouse of gifts" (Ephesians 4:7 LB).
Part of accepting your shape is recognizing your limitations. Nobody is good at everything, and no one is called to be everything. We all have defined roles. Paul understood that his calling was not to accomplish everything or please everyone but to focus only on the particular ministry God had shaped him for (Galatians 2:7-8). He said, "We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the world God has given us, which includes our working with you" (2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).
The word "boundaries" refers to the fact that God assigns each of us a field or sphere of service. Your shape determines your specialty. When we try to overextend our ministry reach beyond what God shaped us for, we experience stress. Just as each runner in a race is given a different lane to run in, we must individually "run with patience the particular race that God has set before us" (Hebrews 12:1 LB).
Don't be envious of the runner in the lane next to you; just focus on finishing your race. God wants you to enjoy using the shape he has given you. The Bible says, "Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else" (Galatians 6:4 NLT).
Satan will try to steal the joy of service from you in a couple of ways: by tempting you to compare your ministry with others, and by tempting you to conform your ministry to the expectations of others. Both are deadly traps that will distract you from serving in the ways God intended. Whenever you lose your joy in ministry, start by considering if either one of these temptations is the cause.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think it's so easy to compare ourselves to others, even in ministry? How does doing so affect our service and the Body of Christ?
- How has God shaped you for ministry? What are some of the limitations to your shape?
- How do you know what God's expectations are for you in your particular ministry? What do you think they are?