Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who told you? (Part 2) Gen 3:11

In my previous post, I talked about the lies we hear and believe about ourselves. Specifically, we talked about the lie the serpent told Adam and Eve that made them believe that there was something shameful and fearful about themselves being naked.

The serpent speaks shame and fear into our lives, but God speaks something quite different. Here are some of the things God speaks about us. "You are the salt of the earth." (Matthew 5:13) "You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14) "You are more valuable than many sparrows." (Luke 12:7) "You are already clean." (John 15:3) "You are My friends." (John 15:14) While the serpent speaks words that create shame and fear, God speaks words of life; words that "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish" (1 Peter 5:10) us.

What was so insidious about the lie told Adam and Eve is that it caused them to be ashamed of how God had made them. God had created them, and he created them naked. Until they ate of the fruit, they had no problem with their nakedness, but now, in light of what the serpent had told them, they were ashamed; ashamed of how God had made them, they were ashamed to be naked.

We are all unique creations of God. God has made us each individually, with varying talents, personalities, and abilities. As Christians, God has also given us unique callings and giftings, "distributing to each one individually just as He wills." (1 Corinthians 12:11) However, sometimes we discount ourselves, not because of any lack in ourselves, but because we are not like someone else. We fail to see the incredible creation we are and focus solely on what we aren't. This comparison with others can lead us to feel ashamed of who we are; of who God made us to be. This is why Paul said, "when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding." (2 Corinthians 10:12)

What is amazing is that, too often the things that make us feel ashamed about ourselves, are the very things for which God has chosen us. For example, we may feel we are too weak to walk with God, yet Paul speaking of his own weakness says, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 We may also feel that we are somehow less situated than others, and this inferiority disqualifies us from service to the Lord, yet Paul encourages us to remember, "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) How often it is that our weakness and lowliness actually qualifies us before God.

So here is the moral of the question, "Who told you?" There is no shame in being you! There is no shame in being the person whom God made you to be. You may not be like others, you may not be accepted and revered by the world, but you are the child of your Father in heaven and, in that, there is no shame. Let us stop trying to be who we are not; trying to be like others, to appear different so we may be accepted by others, and let us rejoice and celebrate in our diversity, in the unique and specially different creation of God that we are. When we understand how unique and special we are to God, it will help us to come out from our hiding and return to the presence of God.

More to come... David Robison

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