Wednesday, February 9, 2011

don't be who you ain't

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
1 Corinthians 7:17

This little nugget of wisdom comes in a section of the New Testament that does not get as much attention as it should. In the context (1 Corinthians 7:17-24), Paul is telling the Corinthians to learn to look at their individual lives and determine prayerfully God's calling for them. His point was that they did not need to be someone God had not made them to be. Remember, they had a tendency towards idolizing Christian leaders, which probably led them to want to be like their favorite celebrity.

Paul takes on the issues of married/single, slave/freeman, and Jew/Gentile and makes it clear that there is no clear advantage in any of these distinctions in terms of the church. We must not create a system that highlights one over the other. And how true that is, still today. And sadly, many church growth specialists ignore this. We have churches now targeting generations, targeting marital status, targeting economic status, targeting urban or suburban status, etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

The body of Christ is a beautiful experience in its diversity. To take that away is ugly, and not God's design. To force believers to see some other status other than what God made them as their goal in Christian living is to destroy what God is making the church. The goal of discipleship is not leadership (that is just one spiritual gift... and a minority gift at that). The goal of discipleship is not upfront showiness. The goal of discipleship is to see people become committed followers of Jesus regardless of race, sex, marital status, economic class, vocation, or education. We are never to make someone long to be someone else. A good rule of discipleship is this: "Don't be who you ain't!"

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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