I remember, back in “the day”, when my long hair still hid my redneck, that there was great pressure to follow the crowd. We would wear the latest fashions, use the coolest slang, and we were constantly trying to prove how “hip” we were. I never realized that in reality all we were doing was becoming carbon copy clones trying to prove we had value in a world that values conformity. We were not walking with freedom to be the person God created us to be.
Even today in our modern church circles, this carbon copy mentality exists. You have to look a certain way, speak a certain way with all the Christianese thrown in, and perform up to certain standards that are expected within your particular stream of Christianity. Whether it is from the conservative fundamentalist camp with the suit and ties and the KJV quotations flowing from your lips, or from the relevant Charismatics with their Hawaiian shirts and laid back style of teaching they all seem to have people who try to mimic the great leaders and thinkers of that group. My heart goes out to those not walking in the freedom to be the person God created them to be.
However I am not sure that this is at all what God intended.
In Psalms 139:14 it says "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it." (NLT)
We are all created complex by God. Complexity means diversity. None of us are the same. So why are we encouraging conformity? You were created by God to fulfill a wonderful destiny in this life. You were given unique and wonderful gifts, talents and abilities to carry out that destiny. Do you think just maybe that when we trade our own special uniqueness for acting and speaking like the crowd that we are in fact telling God He did not know what He was doing or what we really needed?
I get worried when people start taking out the Christian cookie cutter mold and start chopping away at people. It is some of those unique things that don’t quite fit, that God uses to reach others outside the mold. In my own life, I spent 23 years as a bi-vocational pastor and a truck driver. Many Christians couldn’t believe I was a truck driver, hanging out with the rough and tumble sinners that truckers are stereo-typed to be. Truck drivers couldn’t believe I was a pastor because I would sit and listen to them and not cringe when they used colorful metaphors. God created me with the ability to take people where they are and establish relationship with them, to earn their trust, so He could then speak into their lives. What would have happened if I had allowed those who told me to become the model of the slick TV preacher, use their cookie cutter on me? I would have missed wonderful opportunities to speak a word in season with those that greatly needed it.
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (NLT)
You are God’s workmanship, not man’s nor the church, or even the workmanship of well-intentioned leader’s. He is the one that formed you in your mother’s womb. You are the one that He molded during your youth, and He is the one that has promised to complete His work in you! So take a moment, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself this question. Am I walking in the freedom God has given me to be who He has made me to be? He who the son sets free is free indeed!
Today's guest author is Duke Taber, pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Pine Haven Wyoming and the author of the weekly column Taber's Truths in the Moorcroft Wyoming Leader. He has been a believer for 33 years and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. He is a single dad of 3 great kids. His passion is pursuing the radical middle of Christianity where the fullness of the Holy Spirit is experienced and a balanced approach to biblical interpretation is used without going to the extremes of neither hyper-emotionalism nor stoic fundamentalism.
Taber’s Truths Christian Blog http://www.taberstruths.com
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