“She’s working full time, maybe that’s what I should do?” Ever jumped in that boat? Instead of seeking God’s will for your life, followed in someone else’s footsteps, because it seemed good and right? But then it worked out better for her then you. She was energized, growing, getting promoted and making a difference in the world, while you were drained, depressed and overwhelmed. In the end, you found out that ‘thing’, wasn’t what God was asking you to do, it was what he was asking her to do. He gave your friend the grace she needed to complete the task he made her for. Why would he give you grace for her work?
When you try to walk in the life and call placed on another, you fail to experience God’s grace in your life; you may even end up walking in a curse rather than the blessing you see in their life. This results in angry, resentful you. It’s easier to take a path already blazed, but not successful. The truth is, you may not be equipped for that path, and it’s not God’s best for you. If you don’t live a life wearing God’s best for you, you don’t live a life bringing glory and honor to God. God is not leaving any of his kids out, he has a tailored plan for each one.
God is personal. His teaching is all inclusive, but His orders to each individual are exclusive. According to the scriptures, God’s purpose is twofold: 1. to dwell with his people so that 2. They may bring him Glory. Throughout the scriptures, God works to draw people to himself, near to himself, the nearer they get the more they reflect his image. Dwelling and glory. How he accomplishes his plan is radically distinct in each life. We each have been given a different potential to reflect a unique aspect of God’s image, together, we reflect make up the kingdom of heaven, his dwelling place.
In the garden, Eve wasn’t tempted to murder she was tempted to eat. She took because it seemed like a delight to the eyes and good to make one wise. She consumed something that wasn’t made for her. That fruit from that tree was not God’s best for her. She denied his best and embraced a curse. Following after what seemed right and good, she forfeited what was true. In doing so they lost dwelling and glory. Noah wasn’t instructed about a certain tree. Noah was instructed about a boat. Abraham about a journey. Joseph about a dream. God has different plans for different children. But the same outcome, closeness.
What struck me in the gospel of Luke were the variety of instructions Jesus gave to those he healed. In 8:39 he tells the man, ‘to go and tell what great things God has done for you.’ but after raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead, Jesus instructs, “Tell no one.”
He instructed one to take up his mat and walk, while telling the woman with the blood issue to just ‘go in peace’. To some he told to ‘go their way and sin no more’ others to ‘go to show the priests and make an offering’. Jesus knows things we don’t. He sees hearts and circumstance and opportunities and the future, we can’t.
God is personal. We cannot know what’s right for our life, by looking at a sister or brother. We must keep our eyes on God, and tell others to do the same, ‘working out our OWN salvation’. God told Joseph to store up food, while providing bread from heaven for the children of Israel. He instructed Moses to bring a staff to perform miracles, yet he told the disciples bring no staff, but perform miracles using authority.
In Luke 8, Jesus cast out a demon from the man at the tombs, when the man begged to go with Jesus, Jesus said, NO. Jesus’ most effective plan for that guy, was refusing his request. Although Jesus’ work and he himself is a one size fits all, his plans, will and commands are not. He relates personally with each man, woman and child. Jesus knows what they need.
It’s important that we don’t condemn and judge one another’s’ choices because they aren’t our choices (unless of course we see them walking in sin and rebellion). We ought not to pressure others to do what God has called us to do. If it’s God we are obeying we don’t need justification or an entourage. Often times we forget our boundaries’ with people who are closest to us…such as siblings, parents and children. We become like spoiled children, “they have it so I want it too.” or like unauthorized judges, ‘I’m doing it so they should’!
It’s not just misleading but dangerous to follow someone else or do what they do, just because you see a blessing on their life and are too lazy or indifferent to seek God for yourself.
In numbers Miriam and Aaron’s become jealous of their brother Moses. Moses was called by God, set apart to deliver Israel and to lead them, expressing God’s expectations and orders. At one point in their journey, Miriam questioned Moses, saying: “hey, we are all the same, why do we have to listen to Moses, God speaks to us all.” But God had chosen Moses to carry that weight, not Miriam and not Aaron. When they tried to assume that role, they were struck with leprosy. It wasn’t just, ‘not God’s best for them’, it wasn’t God’s will for them. Their assumptions, became a curse; disobedience and sin. You can’t just assume another man’s position because it looks good or right. That’s Satan’s no. 1 weapon and it’s dangerous. In a fit of impatience, King Saul assumed the priestly task of slaughtering the sacrifice before going into war. He assumed, because Samuel, the priest did it, he could also receive God’s blessing if he performed the sacrifice. Not so. God tore the kingdom from Saul that day.
To obey is better than sacrifice.
Several men, in the book of Acts, were beaten badly by demons because they tried to cast out demons, in the name of Paul’s God, the demons said, ‘we know Paul and we know Jesus, but we don’t know you’. They were attempting to utilize authority and gifts that were not theirs to use. We each need to know Jesus for ourselves, we each need to know his voice and instructions for our individual circumstances. God is personal and is more interested in knowing us intimately than the “work” we can do for him.
All throughout the scriptures God works to pull his people near in a variety of ways. God spoke to some through dreams, others in fire, still others in thunder, on mountains, through donkeys, or children. The point is we will never know God’s will and instructions by looking at anyone but HIM. God is personal and intimate with us and wants us to be personal and intimate with him.
Don’t get trapped into comparing. It will result in either depression or pride. God loves each one of us enough to have an individual plan for our lives. He knows us each by name, he won’t use a stamp or a cookie cutter to form us. He may place us with people who have similar gifts calling and abilities, but he wants us to keep our heart focused on his voice and trust in him, in order to do this we must follow him, not that guy who has it all together. The Almighty is our commanding officer, only he knows the best route to victory.
God loves you. He LOVES you. He has something amazing for you, don’t miss it because your busy assuming another’s role. God is personal – expect his instructions to be incomparable, he has a special word for your heart and life. Move close to Him, so you can hear what it is and be ready to accept, that different can still be perfect when it comes from a personal God.