All Trees Don't Grow Alike
Have you ever tried on some clothes that don’t fit quite right? After observing the tag, you notice it says “One Size Fits All”! We could all agree that it probably won’t fit “All” after all! Admittedly, this happens to me rather often!
We’ve started a New Year and a new series! This is a year to Grow Up toward God! In order to grow, we have been discussing the importance of walking in relationships of discipleship; both giving to others what we have received and being in a relationship with those who help us to grow. While it is important that all trees continue growing, I find it interesting that not all trees grow the same way, at the same rate, or under the same conditions. They don’t all produce the same fruit or seed either. Similarly, we cannot equate growing in God with a certain way to pray, or amount of Bible to read, or ways to serve as a means of maturity. God calls some of His Body to be hands, head, or feet and function and grow in different ways. He calls us all to grow in different ways ~ the ones we personally need the most.
Just like clothing that doesn’t work well for everyone, I’ve noticed that similar propensity in our spiritual journey when it comes to growing in God. We look for a formula or path that other more experienced Christians have taken to arrive at their place of maturity. There are many ways we can come closer to God. Oftentimes, we crave knowing the details of their personal relationship with God in order that we too would know when we have “arrived” once we manage to do those same things. Some feel closest to God when praying, reading the Bible, serving, worshiping, teaching, or learning. If we were to do it exactly the way they did it, maybe we too could become the perfect believers. Then again, we consider Ephesians 2:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:8-10
In other words, we truly can’t earn God’s grace and we can’t perfect his work in us either! But what we can do is surrender to His leading in our lives and learn how it is that He has uniquely made us and calls us to live for Him. In his book “The Me I Want to Be”, John Ortberg says something that stands out to me: “Appliances get mass-produced. Masterpieces get handcrafted”. Go ahead, read it again!
You are God’s masterpiece. Created uniquely in Christ for good works. You are not God’s appliance but a masterpiece. God is not limited by your humanity; he longs for relationship with you! He is mindful of you and desires to visit you (Ps. 8:4). God knows what you need. Just as he has known what to do with countless others:
He had Abraham take a walk, Elijah take a nap,
Joshua take a lap, and Adam take the rap.
He gave Moses a forty-nine-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance,
and he gave Paul a pen and a scroll.
He wrestled with Jacob, argued with Job, whispered to Elijah,
warned Cain, and comforted Hagar.
He gave Aaron an altar, Miriam a song, Gideon a fleece,
Peter a name, and Elisha a Mantle.
Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes.
God never grows two people the same way.
God is a hand-crafter, not a mass producer.
Now it's your turn (Ortberg, 2010).
What makes you uniquely you? What is the learning style that comes most naturally to you? What helps you to rest? Are you more fully awake in the morning, afternoon, or evening? What things burden your heart and cause you to reach out? What makes you more aware of the presence of God in your life? It may look different than those around you but it is an act of worship every time you respond when Holy Spirit speaks and draws you to himself or encourages you to serve, or moves you to act… and it may be exactly what we need!
God has made you for freedom and he created you completely YOU! He desires to fill you with His Fullness so that you may give him glory and walk with Him in the way that only YOU can!
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:17-18
I pray that you would be encouraged as you seek God, filled with His presence, and at peace in His freedom!