I’m Not that Special (Contentment #2)
God said to Jeremiah,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …” (Jeremiah 1:5).
And “God shows personal favouritism to no man” (Galatians 2:6). What was true for Jeremiah is true for every human being. We are special.
David praised his Creator,
“For You formed my inward parts … I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:13, 14).
Again, God has no favourites. What was true for David is true for us too. I am special. You are special.
So, why my contentious title?
I’m Not That Special
Because it is my opinion that in Western-world Christianity we somehow feel the need to so harp on this point that we, mostly unconsciously, begin to think of ourselves as the centre piece around which the world revolves.
Please bear with me here. I’m facing the monster in my own heart.
Yes, every human being is special. Without gushing out all the obvious clichés (that are very true); the fact that every single one of the nearly seven billion people on planet earth is completely unique in every way is in itself a remarkable testimony to God’s creative genius and, by deference, our exceptional beauty.
But I don’t think it is unkind to point out that we, in the West, are bombarded with temptations toward self-absorption on a daily basis. The twin powers of proud individualism and rampant consumerism are overwhelming shaping forces we face at every twist and turn. And with every twist, we turn more self-obsessed and ironically, more ungrateful and more discontent.
So, please play along with my choice of title. While I earnestly believe that every human is unbelievably special, somehow we’ve twisted this inspiring truth to become obsessed with ourselves—which gets our own knickers in a knot and unintentionally robs glory from the One who created us.
Interestingly, in his psalm (quoted above), David was not staring at his own reflection in the mirror, cooing: “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” He was praising the Creator not the creation. His psalm is an expression of worship to God not an ode to his own “specialness”.
Yes, we are special: created in the very image of God Himself; the focal point of His creation and the principle object of His Fatherly attention and affection. (Wow! Read that a few times again!)
However, the essential question is this:
What is our application of this wonderful truth? Or, said another way, how do we live in the reality of being so special?
Do we, on the one hand, develop a spirit of entitlement (I’m a King’s kid; I deserve it), wherein we become increasingly bratty in our demands of God, suspicious of any challenges and trials we face, and expect others to revolve around our needs and wants?
In other words, do you believe that because you’re so special, everybody owes you something?
(I’m not so foolish to think that we’d actually admit this in so many words. If you’re anything like me, then you’re also notorious for giving yourself the benefit of any doubt. But as we’re attempting to be honest here, we must own up to the question: do we feel a sense of entitlement?).
Or do we, on the other hand, nurture a spirit of gratitude (I’m a King’s kid; I’m here to serve), realising that our true beauty/potential blossoms as we deny ourselves; that is, when we die to our bent towards a sense of entitlement?
In other words, do you believe that because God has made everyone (and everything) so special, we owe Him everything?