I met this girl in my twenties that I thought was wonderful. She dressed, acted and lived the way I wanted to live. She seemed free and happy. Before that I met this girl in high school that I thought was terrific, she was popular, beautiful and carefree – she had the life I wanted to live. Later, I met this woman in church she had it all together, she was fashionable, confident, her children and well behaved and her husband adores her. And I thought that’s the life I want to live.
It’s truly exhausting modeling ourselves after what we want to be or even what we think we should be. No matter how much I tried to be like the friends or women I admired I:
- seemed to keep failing,
- was exhausted and
- still wasn’t ever content (even when I did pretty well at looking like them).
Setting goals and living your dreams are not going to meet your expectations if your goals and dreams are to look like someone else. Even if that person is fabulous – you can’t ever be them! The less we know ourselves the more our goals will be to look like someone we think is living successfully. All in all this is not a bad thing. It can be a great place to start if you don’t know where to begin. Since you’re reading this now there’s no excuse to take the less effective more exhausting path. There’s a better way.
We are not designed to be the same. I don’t look like you. Of course this is true in the natural, but I’m talking more about the part of us that lives forever. That part is perfectly unique by design. In church feeling like you can’t be yourself is a common problem because that environment often gives acceptance for sameness – they call it unity. (Many great churches aren’t like this, of course!)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But…
Stop right there. Look at all the ones following the charge to maintain unity.
One God and Father of all
Why the “but?” Because in talking about all that one-ness the writer of the letter to the Ephesians is about to teach us that there is diversity in unity. Unity is not sameness. He says:
…to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:3-7
We EACH have a been given “grace” as HE decided to portion it to us. We didn’t all get the same stuff. This “grace” has everything to do with our calling or destiny; what we were put on this Earth to be and do. (Don’t take my word for it it’s in the Bible: Romans 12:3, Ephesians 3:2,7 & 8, Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 3:10, Galatians 2:9.
This grace not only defines your destiny and reveals your true identity but also empowers you to live it! Pretty amazing!
Even better news: WE ALREADY HAVE IT! Grace has been given to you. It’s built into your design but it is hidden or rather covered like an old fashioned bride with a veil. And similar to the eagerness of a groom to “unveil” his bride it is part of our life’s adventure to seek out this treasure. Trying to be like someone else is only copying someone else’s portion of grace and leaving your portion neglected. Not only is this boring and ineffective (you aren’t designed for their grace so your doomed to fail at it) it’s depriving the world of your unique gifting.
We ENTER the body of Christ through grace, we are saved because of His goodness not our own good works. We BECOME the body of Christ also by grace. His grace empowers us to display the gift He has given us. We have to set our sites on being who we are called to be and stop trying to look like someone else. We need to stop being imitations.
In the post, Divine Design I wrote how each one of us was given a piece of God to magnify on the Earth. This piece of His Glory is your grace. And according to C.S. Lewis, millions and millions of us living 100% in our destiny would still be an inadequate demonstration of God on the Earth. We needn’t fear that we need to be the same to be in unity. If we do all look the same – we’re doing it wrong. We aren’t all supposed to look like what man thinks God looks like. We are supposed to look like the magnificent diversity that is God. Unity isn’t sameness but rather wholeness. Together we display the WHOLE image of God. We are to live out the grace that He has given to us, doing what He has called us to do, reflecting that portion of Him on the Earth.
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13
We become more like God the more we look at Him. Because we see through a glass dimly, (I Cor 13:12) or said another way, because our vision is clouded; we can only reflect that of God which we can see clearly. The closer we are to Him, the greater understanding of his character and his ways the more we are transformed into his likeness. It’s not us learning about his traits and then making ourselves like Him. Rather He transforms us from one form of glory to a greater form of glory. As we gaze upon the Lord we become the mirror he is reflected in.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
I actually perfer the NASB version because the word picture is more accurate.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
We are the mirror! We turn towards Him and He reflects His image in us. He imprints a different image on each one of us and gives us a unique gift of His grace to display on the Earth. We reflect this image of God by being changed to look like Him. We get changed by looking at Him – not trying to act like Him. This is a supernatural experience. Although we have an active role it cannot be managed or controlled. Just as the bride has to be vulnerable to her groom by removing her “veil” so we must come to Him in our most vulnerable state. Once there we behold Him. In those moments something happens. This is a supernatural so it’s difficult to describe but just try it – – and see what happens. What he promises in the verse above is if we behold Him – then He transforms us into greater and greater versions of ourselves. We can know who we are and what we are called to do and be. Our destiny and our heart’s desires lie with the “Man” in the Mirror.