Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Be yourself

Some of us have quite a struggle with comparing ourselves to others. Are we thinner or fatter than that other person? Do our earnings outdo theirs? Does our sense of style reveal we have at least kept up with the current century while others have lagged behind? We engage in all manner of comparison and that moment we begin to compare ourselves to another is the moment we open ourselves up to envy, jealousy, strife, and riffs in relationship. Why is that? I think it just might be that Christ never intended for us to compare ourselves to another human - because we are ALL flawed in some manner. His intent was that we compliment each other - not compete!

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:4-5 MSG)

We get our meaning from Christ - no one else. We find our purpose in him - not in our achievements. We might get enjoyment in our achievement, but it isn't our crowning glory - Christ in us is that crowning glory! We aren't made complete through human effort or restraint. We are complete in Christ. This is the starting point of all sense of real purpose in our lives. When we engage in comparison, we are always going to look down on someone (it might even be ourselves). We might not realize that at first, but when the toe starts to demand all the attention because it gets a little ingrown nail artifact, how much of the body's attention does it get? ALL of it - small though it might be - it views itself as most important at that moment!

Hear the words of this scripture clearly, my friends. We are ALL excellently formed and we function in a marvelous fashion not on our own, but because we have been joined into this thing called the Body of Christ. In times gone by, churches used to preach that we were the Body of Christ. You don't much hear that message any longer, but the truth still remains - each part makes up the whole. No part is more important - nor is any part less significant. ALL are necessary to what God intends. The main message in this passage isn't that we were all put into the Body of Christ, but that we are to get good and comfortable just being who we were made to be - without pretense, comparison, or fear!

Too often comparison leads to us being or striving to be something we are not. We try fashions that we just aren't all that comfortable wearing just because we are trying to "keep up". We buy into neighborhoods that put a crunch on our budgets just because everyone else is doing it. We find ourselves extending ourselves in ways we just aren't comfortable with just because others expect it of us. The end result is that we are miserable. We find ourselves striving, but getting very little reward from all the effort. Did you realize that to strive is to not only to engage in serious effort, expending serious amounts of energy, but that it also means we are struggling in opposition. The opposition is really our conscience! We know better, but we are doing it in order to 'keep up'.

The more we try to be what we are really quite uncomfortable being, the less true we become to our 'original design' - who we were created to be. The greatest way to honor God in our lives is not by becoming the other guy - it is by being ourselves! Just sayin!