Monday, November 05, 2007

The Folly of Making Someone Look Like Us

As human beings, we have tendency to judge everyone by ourselves. We, either consciously or unconsciously, place ourselves as the standard of life and conduct for those around us. To a degree this is not bad, and is normal, but if taken to an extreme it can ruin the work of God.

The Apostle Paul compares the church to the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, and uses this comparison to address the various divisions which the church was battling at that time. In verses 19 He says, “And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?” If all of us had identical ministries and acted in uniformity, rather than unity, where would the body be? Of what would it be composed? What would it look like?

Imagine if in our body, we had a limb that began to grow, the rest of the body didn’t grow, just hat limb. Imagine that this limb, say a hand, overwhelmed all the rest of the limbs until all their was was a pair of legs with a hand on top. Would it win a prize in a beauty pageant or a freak show?

I know that sounds far out, but it is a trap we easily fall into. We want others to be like us, to act like us, to think like us in every way. However, if all Christians were like us the church would not be a better place (we all think it would be whether we realize it or not). It would be a monster... The irony of trying to make others into ourselves is that in our success we fail. If we succeed in making them into what we want, they will never be able to be what God wants. We create a uniformity, but fall short of unity. Every believer is unique, and created by God for unique purpose, they will never be happy in another position and there will be no grace for it either, because God only gives grace to accomplish His will. To attempt to make others into what we are is a sin, it is pride and esteeming ourselves to highly, it also is rebellion against God who formed that person for another purpose.

In Song of Solomon Chapter 8, the beloved has grown in her relationship with the Lord and has responsibility over younger siblings, in verse 9 speaking of one of these she says, “If she [be] a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she [be] a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.” Note, the wisdom here... what is done is to aid the person in improving the ministry and gift of God which He has already formed in them, not in making them something else.

In Israel there were 13 tribes, 12 are found in Revelation, with Dan, the apostate tribe being removed from the list. The fact that there are 24 courses in David’s tabernacle and 2 groups of 144,000 in Revelation leads to the conclusion that there will be the 12 natural tribes (after their restoration) and the 12 spiritual tribes in heaven. Indeed, in Revelation 21 we are told that the New Jerusalem has 12 gates with the names of the tribes on them, one for each tribe, with an angel at each gate. Interestingly enough, in our modern scale of music there are 7 full tones and 5 half tones in an octave ( the eighth beginning the next octave) ie... 12 tones. I do not think that there is a song in the world that can be played using only one of those notes, but if you use all of them at the right time, anything can be played. Each tribe has its own resonance and is made to play a certain note, as we each become what God calls us to be, beautiful music can be made.

On a personal note, about four years ago the Lord spoke to me the name of my spiritual tribe. I had not ever thought of it, but one night right after I had finished praying, as I was about to go to sleep, He spoke. When He did, I looked up that tribe, and I began to understand myself. Things about me that I had wondered about... is that just my personality, or do I need to change? Things I had been unhappy with myself about, became clear. That was how God had made me, for a specific purpose. So, instead of decrying those traits, now I love them, because they please God. Without those traits I could not fulfill my ministry. I have no desire that others should be like me... believe me one of me is plenty, a little goes a long way. I do have a desire though, that you should be like Christ. Also that I may be like Christ. If we all grow to the full stature of Christ there can be no complaints. Amen.