Monday, July 10, 2006

being ourselves

God created each of us unique. And in Christ Jesus, God is recreating each of us unique. We are not the same. We will approach life differently according to the differences God has put in us. And according to the different life experiences we have as well, in which God works in them all, good and bad, for our good.

There is so much we can learn from each other. Especially during our formative years, in learning to follow Christ, or in learning to develop an interest according to our gifts- we may seek to copy another. In some ways that is good. Some things that work for them, as to how they do what needs to be done, may work for us. We will learn much from such mentors. But in the end, it will have to be ourselves, in us being ourselves in the Lord, by the Spirit, that will be blessed by God. Why? Because God made and is making us unique. Each of us. Together, in our separate part, contributing to the whole (as Paul repeatedly says in his letters).

What might this possibly mean? Well, for one thing we need to stop comparing ourselves with others. Paul says that those who do so, are not wise. I can always be learning something from those who are mentors, or like spiritual fathers or mothers to me in the Lord. But how I work that out will be according to my own unique gifting from God. I can thank God for the way they do something, without thinking that I need to do the same. While thanking God for what he gives me in what I am enabled to do.

In my gifting I long ago learned not to try to be someone else. That took time, however. But one learns, in whatever gift they are operating in, that they must be themselves in the Lord, to carry it out in serving others.

Being myself doesn't mean I'm an island to myself. And what others think doesn't matter. The point here is that each of us are unique as part of the whole. We have our part to contribute to the body of Jesus as one part of that entire body in our local community, and in the world.

So let us relax and lose our lives for Christ and the gospel- and in so doing we will find our true selves/life. And then work at growing and doing well in our God-given niche and corner, as we seek to follow Christ together. Amen.


Allan R. Bevere said...

Great post! Your words are reminscent of John Donne, of course.

We cannot be ourselves until we are in Christ. Just like the prodigal we "come to ourselves," when we realize our identity is bound up with our Heavenly Father.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks Allan for the very fitting and helpful words here, and for your gracious words.

John Frye said...

Your post reminds me of LeRon Shults' writing about the importance of "the face"--the face of God and the faces of others that help us know who we are.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks so much for your comment, and referring us to LeRon Shult's work. I hope to read/work on that in the not too distant future.

Sometimes for me it is a case of not only knowing who I am but understanding and living by the ramifications of that- i.e., as a child to the heavenly Father and Jesus as our Brother. Yet at the same time we do ever need what you're referring here to- from the face of God and others.