I recently watched the NBA championship series between the Cavaliers & Warriors. Both teams have very different styles & it’s easy to find strong proponents for each style. There are heaps of folk who rightfully admire LeBron James, for the Cavs & heaps of folk who like the point spread among several players for the Warriors.
Personally, I tend to admire the teamwork style of play over more of the superstar style.With that said, I’ve been thinking about my distaste for styles that are different than my preference. And I’ve come to this conclusion: God has made each of us in unique & wonderful ways. Some individuals are wired up for massive individual achievements & some are wired up for the team approach. Being hostile & acrimonious against styles we don’t like can show not just a bias but also the refusal to grow & respect others who are different than ourselves.
With this line of thinking, I would suggest that Paul is a phenomenal NT example of a massively high achiever, who valued Help along his various journeys. Maybe Barnabas would be an example of a team player, looking to include as many teammates as he possibly could throughout his life. Both men had unique gifts, contributions & value to add to God’s kingdom. Let’s be careful to respect others who have different giftings rather than belittle & deride them for not being like us 🙂
My daughter really likes fashion & style, me not so much. Truth be known, if my clothes match on any given day it’s evidence of divine intervention. But for my daughter, matching & style are as easy for her as breathing – almost mindless. This leads me to appreciate that what is easy for her seems almost impossible for me. And this is every bit as true for you as well because I have no doubt that you are agile & gifted in stuff that is totally baffling to me.
So rather than berating someone for an inability, let’s find & celebrate their strengths. Bumbling & fumbling is just evidence that God has gifted us in ways beautifully distinct & creatively unique. Thanks to a great friend who helped me see this today 🙂
It’s important to consider / take an inventory of the thoughts that we allow to run around in our minds. Such thoughts can have a significant impact on our decisions & behaviors. For example, there have been many occassions where I’ve been in situations that were way beyond my skill set & I was in way over my head (sometimes in various leadership roles, sometimes in athletic competitions & often in my role as a mom). There have also been situations where I’ve felt entirely confident, secure & proficient, to the point of being over-confident, cocky & even arrogant.
What we think in our minds is extremely important & I was reminded of this lesson from reading about the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:21. In this verse it says, “. . . . ‘she said in herself, if I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed.'” The outcome of the story is that she was healed, but her mindset was an important ingredient for her healing. Some take aways from her internal conversation:
keep your eyes on Jesus more than fear, inabilty or even talent
We all have various strengths, talents & giftings. I have friends who are really good at organizing, details, fashion, etc. One of the things that I think I’m good at is listening. I like to listen, ask questions, learn & hear about other people’s lives. While this can be a great talent, it can also be a great weakness for me, in that I find that I can often listen better than speak when it comes to one on one relationships. If I do not share & sincerely express myself then a relationship can be one-sided & unbalanced. What has been a foundational strength can also turn into a crippling weakness, particularly when I ignore the Holy Spirit’s confrontations.
So my challenge to you has a few things for you to consider:
#1 – what are you good at? What are your strengths?
#2 – in what ways might these strengths become weakspots?
#3 – how can you listen to the Holy Spirit to help you live in truth & not deception with your strengths?
Let your strengths be ongoing strengths & not twisted into weaknesses 🙂
Philip 2:13 says that God is working in us to will & do of His good pleasure. In light of the idea of working out our salvation with fear & trembling from verse 12, we could see God as our work out trainer – helping us have the desire & power to do what He wants (work out our salvation).
God is working in each of us. When Paul wrote this, he used the present tense & in Greek, this means an ongoing & continuous action. So God is working in you & me today, even at this moment, helping us to have the desire & abilities (resources, etc) to accomplish His will. If you get more specific, those times in your day when you feel like being kind, patient, friendly, generous, forgiving (see the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) – these are God moments. He is working in you – be encouraged & offer Him some cooperation (I can’t say that word without thinking of Seasame Street).
Make today a God-watch day – watching for Him working in you His desires & abilities!