"Just let me be who I'm meant to be." Was the gist of a pop song I heard this week. And all of us understand this desire to fulfill our purpose in life.
How many times did your mom tell you, "Stop bouncing on/playing with/bending that! It's not what it was meant for?" At least 1,000 and at least a handful of those times whatever it was broke. Because -- Guess What? -- mom was right: It wasn't meant for that. Often it even said so right in the instructions: Do not submerge in water. Avoid stressing the thingy-ma-bob. Weight limit: 80 lbs. Meant for single person use.
Meant implies purpose, a design for an item and a reason for existence. Further it is an external design by the inventor who knows what that item was made to do.
As people we use the word "meant", but we want to decide what our design should be. The catch is: We don't know it. Since we didn't create ourselves, we can't know our purpose. We need the Creator to tell us who we were meant to be. And (Praise God!) He has told us clearly in His instructions:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. -- Ephesians 2:10
The reigning philosophists, political pundits, and our favorite Disney movies all agree: Just follow your heart. It's basically our culture's catchphrase; and this world (not to mention prison) is full of people trusting their hearts. They are walking in Solomon's footsteps in Ecclesiastes, "I wanted it -- so I got it...and it wasn't enough." (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, heavily paraphrased.)
The problem is our heart only tells us what we feel is true -- it doesn't tell us what is true.
So having failed with his heart, Solomon tried with his head and found out, "Reasoning is endless, and it gets you nowhere." (Ecclesiastes 12:12, heavily paraphrased.)
The problem is our head tells us what we think is true -- it doesn't tell us what is true. One need only to survey the contradictions between "experts" to demonstrate this point; their minds absorb the same information and come to opposite conclusions.
Having proven all this with his long life and many mistakes, Solomon concluded in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 what his father David had told him as a young man: "Don't trust your heart. Don't trust your head. Trust and obey God Who is both Love and Judge -- perfect in heart and perfect in head."
What does God say?
Have you ever answered the phone in the middle of the night only to try and pretend you are wide awake? Why do we do this? It's 2:30 am...Yes, I was sleeping, and you woke me up.
Or have you ever been pulled over for going 72 in a 35 mph zone only to ask the officer what the problem was? Just you going twice the legal speed limit. Oh! That...
We pretend all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons.
How are you doing? Oh, just fine. (I just really don't want to talk about it with you.)
Can I get you the dessert menu? Thank you, but I think we are too full. (At least at those prices!)
And there are (or at least may be) legitimate reasons for these things. But we often bring our pretender patterns into our relationship with God.
I didn't mean to...spread that juicy bit of gossip, God.
Lord, I'm just not getting anything out of going to church...so I'm going to the game instead.
I've just been too busy, Jesus, to pray or read Your word or...What? Uh, yes, I know all my TV shows got watched...
We can fool other people (sometimes) because they don't know everything. But, unless we are just trying to make ourselves feel better, why pretend with God? He already knows the truth and He wants us to know the truth too.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. -- John 8:32
Tell Him the truth.
Did you know that people sometimes accuse the Bible of claiming the existence of unicorns? After all Numbers 23:22 says in KJV, "God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn."
There is a simple explanation -- and it's not that God is confused about the animals He made. The truth is we aren't sure exactly what this animal is.
A wild ox? A wild bull? A rhino? Maybe. These are the words more modern translations use to communicate about this creature that is most likely extinct.
When the King James Version was originally translated a unicorn was considered a real animal. Thus, the translators thought it was the closest match to the animal being described in Numbers (and other places). The Bible was not wrong, nor was the God who wrote it. The error was man's (even though many of those men who loved God with everything they had).
Let's start this year by assuming God is always right...and we aren't. May that truth grant us humility before God and others, and prompt us to extend grace to all around us (including ourselves).
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.