Having been a Christian for 30 years, I have from time to time wondered what we are doing in the church…wondered what we are creating with our discipleship programs, small groups, membership classes, our men’s and women’s ministries? What happens to those new, excited, enthusiastic people who were committed converts to the good news of the gospel. It seems that once we get them, we immediately begin to mold and shape them into what we have come to define as a Christian.
We take these wide-eyed lumps of clay and begin to press and prod them into the Christian mold that our church and Christian culture has identified as Christian. We are well meaning and sincere in our efforts but in the long run we rob the individual, the church and the world of the unique, one-of-a-kind, God-given creation that the new convert was to be and to become. In the name of discipleship and Christian maturity we strip away and cover up all that is within them that does not conform to what we believe a Christian should be.
I believe this is an entirely wrong approach, albeit an efficient approach, to take. It seems to me that instead of cramming individuals into a predetermined mold, we would be better off affirming and celebrating the new creation, the one-of-a-kind masterpiece that the individual is in Christ. We would be better off if we helped them to discover and become whom God has created them and re-created them in Christ to be. One of the great truths of salvation is what Jesus refers to as a new birth. When we become a Christian we become a new creation, we become a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of God, we become a divine snowflake having the imprint of God upon our very being.
As those further on the journey, we have the God-given responsibility and mandate to help people become whom God has originally created and re-created them in Christ to be. The problem is that this journey would be somewhat different for each individual and would not be reducible to a four to six week program. Helping and encouraging people to become is not an easy process but it is one worthy of our efforts. We must help our brothers and sisters in Christ escape the shackles of the false identities of the world as well as the false identities that have been affixed to them in the name of Christ. We must seek to help others discover and embrace the wonder of who they are as God's beloved child, unique in all the world. The world does not need another Moses, Peter, Paul or Jesus but it does need each person to be the unique creation of God they were made by God to be.
I urge you to take a stand, to embrace who God has created you to be and determine to live out of that, to internalize the life-giving grace and love of God that shouts to you above the voices and demands of others, “you are My beloved, My one-of-a-kind masterpiece, My priceless gift to this world. Please be the ‘me’ I created you to be.”
As you live your life this way you inspire and challenge others to embrace the wonder of who they are. You help them break free from the pre-existing molds into which they have been pressed and prodded so that they can know the life-giving freedom that comes from realizing that they, too, are a unique, one-of-a-kind masterpiece of Christ who is God’s special gift to this world.
Be the ‘me’ that God created you to be so others will be inspired and challenged to be the ‘me’ that they most truly are.