Monday Morning Devotion – October 12, 2020
Being Who you are is a Good Thing
"For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me are written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalms 139: 13-16
*Reprinted from September 20, 2010
Sometimes life is just flat-out hard! Frustrations pile up and we feel like just throwing up our hands and giving up. Does anybody care? The answer to that is yes! This is a good devotion to pull out when you are feeling down. I wrote it in 2004. Just re-read it and thought: Hey, this may help someone out...change a perspective, adjust an attitude or just provide some encouragement because there is someone who cares and can help. Didn't change a word of the original version.
What today's scripture tells us is that God is involved in every detail of our lives including a master plan for each of us, even before we were born. God is deeply and personally concerned about our lives, before we are conceived.
That is important as we view our faults and shortcomings and compare them to strengths and strong points. We need to keep in mind that no matter if we view them as good, bad or indifferent all of these things come from God.
Jerry Bridges in his wonderful book, Trusting God, tells how he was never able to catch or hit a baseball when he was young and how he was teased and ridiculed about it by other kids. He was unable to play racquetball or handball for fear he would get hit in the face with the ball. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't do it and all the other neighborhood kids could. It wasn't until years later that he found out the problem was due to monocular vision which means he could only focus one eye at a time. The depth perception most of us have is based on binocular vision. This is the ability to focus both eyes at the same time to get a three-dimensional effect in order to judge depth, and speed of movement, the kinds of things we take for normal. Bridges says, even to this day, he is afraid when he goes to renew his driver's license that the examiner will not pass him because of the depth perception portion of that exam.
When you have a problem like Bridges has there is a natural tendency to have a struggle with God over the "Why "question. Why me Lord? That points out the greatest need we have in trusting God. We must trust God, first, for who we are.
Our scripture from Psalms shows us that we are who we are because God made us that way. Whatever our imperfections and disabilities are that is the way He made us. We did not happen because of some imperfect biological process. God planned and took extreme care in creating each of us.
Rev. James Hufstetler said, "You are the result of the attentive, careful, thoughtful, intimate, detailed, creative work of God. Your personality, your sex, your height, your features are what they are because God made them precisely that way. He made you the way he did because that is the way he wants you to be.
"So, even the shape of our ears, our nose, size of our hands and feet are a result of careful planning on God's part. He didn't run out of one size and stick us with what was left. He planned each of us and the Bible tells us even the "hairs of our head are numbered."
The implication is clear. If I have difficulty accepting something about myself, then I am in conflict with God. What I need to do is to change the way my sinful nature distorts what God made. As Bridges says, that doesn't mean "we need to accept ourselves as we are, that we can't do things better or improve our lives, but we need to accept the way God made us in our basic physical, mental, and emotional makeup."
David praised God because he was "fearfully and wonderfully made." You say that's fine for David, he was handsome, athletic, a great warrior, a gifted musician and a king. Why wouldn't he praise God for all those gifts? So, we look at ourselves and feel
very ordinary. It's not what we have, but what we do with what we have that is important. God has given us the ability to rise to great heights.
For people who don't like the way they look, it should be remembered that God did not give His own Son handsome features. Isaiah 53:2 says, He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Bridges says, "Jesus, at best, was apparently nondescript in His physical appearance, and it never bothered Him nor interfered with His carrying out the will of His Father."
People weren't drawn to Jesus because of how he looked. It wasn't movie-star good looks that attracted them. It was the love he radiated to them. It was how he connected with them, taught them, cared about them. It was what he did with the human traits and talents His heavenly Father had endowed Him with that came across.
David praised God not because God made him handsome, but because God had made him...period! In His infinite wisdom and perfect love God gave you the body, personality, and mental capacity because He wanted you to be that way and He loves you.
When Jesus was asked why a certain man was born blind, he said, as recorded in John 9:3, this happened so the work of God might be displayed in his life. Now was that fair? We are big on fairness in our lives. When we are kids and we have to do something, we don't want to do, or some other kid gets to do something we didn't, we whine, "Mommy, that's not fair!" Who said life is fair, anyway? It certainly isn't if you look at it in human terms. James Hufstetler says, "You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way he did."
While we are thanking God for who we are, we need to also thank him for the positive abilities and traits he gave us. All of our abilities, physical and mental, our personality and talents, were given to us by God. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who made you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? We all received whatever ability, riches, station in life, rank, or influence we have from God to be used by us for His glory.
Our scripture says all these days were ordained for us. They were written in God's Book before even one of those days came about. He created each of us uniquely to fill a plan he has for us. This includes everything that happens to you, all the things that seem to be random or chance happenings, all the sudden unexpected turns of events-good and bad-that occur in our lives. They may appear to be happenstance, but they were written in God's book before they came about.
He didn't just create us without a plan in mind and throw us out there to sink or swim. God equipped us. He gave us the spiritual gifts that are consistent with our mental and physical abilities and the temperament we have to do the job. That was not a random or chance happening, either. It was pre-planned.
Bridges says a poll revealed 80% of the work force is dissatisfied with their jobs. Does that mean 80% of our country is not doing the work God planned for us. No, maybe it is a matter of reluctance to do what God planned for us. Paul had the answer to that when he said, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man. Colossians 3:23
Since God has ordained our days before we were born, that should give special meaning to each day. Every day is important because it is a day that came from God.
So, we should give thanks each day to God for making us who we are. Then, thank Him for the gifts he has given us and ask him to help us know how He wants us to use them. Finally, if we work as if working for the Lord, not for man, we have the keys to leading a successful and happy life.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for making us who we are and the way we are. As each of us stops to think about our own creation, we realize what an intricate plan you have woven throughout our lives. This all starts with the way we were physically made. Thank you for loving each one of us enough to throw away the mold after creating us as one-of-a-kind humans. Amen