Why Did You Make Me Like This?
Lisa Cooke

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? Romans 9:20 NIV

Lisa CookeWhile this verse in context is referring to much more serious issues, how many times have I answered back to God “Why did you made me like this? Why do I have these giftings and not others, which seem to be superior or more desirable than my own?”

In humility we are wise to come to the point of accepting the giftings God has given us, and seek His wisdom on how best to use what He has entrusted to us for the edifying of the Body of Christ. We can never get away from the fact that we are to love God and love others with our lives. The purpose of any gift is not for our own consumption, enjoyment, or self esteem, but for the betterment of those around us.

Deferring to God’s wisdom, we see that “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose” (1 Corinthians 12:18). It is never as we choose. We have to trust His judgment and be encouraged “that the work He has committed to me is safe in His hands until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). His ways are perfect and His plans are complete concerning where He has placed each one of us in His Body, and He has gifted us accordingly.

But our flesh will sometimes give us issues concerning our place, especially if we compare it to the place others have been given. Just recently I’ve felt hammered by accusations and insults against my particular placement with its accompanying gifts. At 56 I would have thought I would have been over this temptation to compare myself with others, but it appears the temptation recycles itself every so often.

The Holy Spirit led me to meditate in the 12th and 13th chapters of 1 Corinthians in response to this onslaught, and here are a few things He pointed out to me that settled my soul.

1 Corinthians 12:4 reads in the English Standard Version: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

What struck me so strongly was the emphasis on the “same Spirit, same Lord, same God.” All the differing varieties of what we are empowered to do as disciples of Christ are of the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God. Being of the same Triune God is what can be beautifully honored in the Body of Christ, as opposed to the exaltation of individual gifts or service or activities. Communion with God in the participation of His will throughout His body brings about the unity God so desires and so deserves, and adds to our lives a holy sense of worth.

Verse 20 says “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” We should let the “common good” of the “one body” be our reason for the variety of manifestations of the Spirit through our lives. “The body does not consist of one member but of many” and we are admonished through the rest of chapter 12 to remember that we need each other for the full fruition of all God has ordained.

When we understand that all of our gifts come from the same Triune God, it produces a sense of spiritual equality with others that helps us get past the sin of comparison. We are able then to focus on doing our part and trust God to make our part effective for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. For me, this is a paradigm of spiritual maturity that I can embrace and work from.

And then there’s love. When the need to be loved is greater than the desire to love, we find ourselves vulnerable to impulses of the flesh to find our value in what we do. The flesh seems to have an insatiable desire to be known and loved for what it does. I know my flesh does. But we aren’t called to be loved by others as much as we are called to love others. Paul even said “even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me” (2 Corinthians 12:15 NLT). Our second holy priority, after loving God with all that is within us, is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

When our focus and intent is busy with loving others, we honor what God is doing within the body of Christ. We need the constant inflowing of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts to be able to live like this though. In ourselves and of our own efforts it’s easy to become weary in well-doing, but when we are consistently receiving the love that comes from God by the Holy Spirit, then our work is not in vain.

All our usage of our giftings must be grounded in love for each other, striving “to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). It helps to be reminded that all that God has given us—talents, abilities, and competencies—are for the edification of the body of Christ. They are not for a sense of self-worth, prestige, or even dominance, but for service toward His body through a life dedicated to the will of God as He has arranged it.