Friday, February 8, 2008

When Others Do Things Better than We Do ;)

It’s hard to have someone come along and surpass me in skill!

Something that God’s been trying to teach me this year is that when I love like He loves, that love will cast out fear. See, it’s so easy for me to love in a self-centered way rather than in a way that shows that I care for other people more deeply than (or even as much as!) I do for myself. Yet to love like Christ means to love unselfishly. It means that I won’t be afraid of someone else doing better than me. This is the kind of love that will destroy my fear of being surpassed by others and that will make me willing to give Him my best even if someone else is capable of showing me up and making my efforts look pitiful. Isn't it usually really my own pride, in the first place, that's worried about how good I look in the eyes of others? ;-)

If I can only learn to love like Christ, my concern will be that God get as much glory as He possibly can. The gifts and abilities He’s given to the different children in His family aren’t so that we can surpass anyone. They’re to show that our God is unsurpassable. So if I become jealous and comparing, I need to remember the very purpose of the gifts that God’s given us—to bring glory to Him! Second Corinthians 10: 17-18 says, “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”

It’s good to remember, too, that even when we *are* placed in a lower position, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t capable of raising us up in His timing or that He sees us as being of any lesser worth. God often uses our weaknesses to teach us humility. He says that His strength is made perfect in weakness! When we try our best, but fail to do as well as someone else, our own lack of human skill is such an opportunity for Him to teach us. He can show us more about Himself and use His strength to make us strong, often in ways that are so much more important than the outward displays of talent and ability that the world views with so much importance.

David is one of my favorite Biblical examples of someone who seemed to be more lowly than others (in this case his siblings), yet who was rewarded because of his heart. When Samuel tried to figure out whom he was to anoint as king, it appeared to Samuel that David’s brothers must surely be God’s anointed. But because of his heart, David was exalted. I love how his inward priority was Christ. I love how it still would have been Christ even if he’d been left tending the sheep in the field. The story of David is just a good reminder to me that man is often tempted to look at outward things that really are so unimportant compared to the heart. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Sam. 18b

God doesn’t call us to compare ourselves with others. He just calls us to follow Him as steadfastly as we can and to bring Him glory in every way, but most of all by what’s inside our hearts that only He can ever fully see. We need to keep growing more like Christ so that we love more like He loves, realizing that we don’t need to be afraid of someone doing better than us even when we try our very hardest. He’s not afraid of it, and His opinion is what really matters! People, myself included, *will* look at outward accomplishments. This makes it hard not to judge my worth on what others value about me or think me to be, based on what they can see with their eyes. But our worth is in Christ, and when I struggle with being jealous or feeling incapable, I need to remember this. He is the one who makes us capable. It is before *God* that we stand or fall, not man, and it’s for Him that we labor, regardless of who seems to do a better job than we do. I’m just a vessel in great need of maturing and perfecting, but I know He can help us through this struggle!