I have got some amazing christian friends who I would classify as “academically intelligent”. They are seriously smart and at times I feel like I need to look up a dictionary to find out the meaning to some of the words they use. They blow me away with the depth of thinking to which they apply to thinking about God and what is going on in the world; I truly admire this strength in them.
Last weekend I spent some time with one of these friends, talking about God and listening to some of her views on theology (of which we both study) and the world around us. I came away thinking “Wow! She is so intelligent and God will be able to use her powerfully”, but the subtle lie that then snuck in as an after thought was, “God will never be able to use me like He can use her, because I am not nearly as smart and I do not think through things as deeply as she does or argue as clearly as she does”. In all honesty, I did not even realise that in my admiration for her I was letting condemnation come against me. But God did.
The other morning I woke up and could not get back to sleep, I figured God wanted me to sit with him, so I started reading the Gospel of John. As I was reading through the book these two random little verses stuck out to me and stopped me in my tracks. The verses came from John 2:24-25, “But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.” I was mystified as to why this snippet of scripture, from what I had read, would jump out at me so strongly; I wasn’t sure what God was trying to teach me from it. The notes in my bible on v. 24-25 said, “On the ability to discern what is in everyone, see also 1 Sam 16.7; 1 Chr 28.9 and Ps 139.” So I looked these passages up and what came from it completely opened up these verses in John and revealed what God was teaching me through it.
The truth is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God, for He formed my inward parts and knit me together in my mother’s womb (Ps 139. 13-14). God designed me a particular way for his purposes, for specific needs in the building up of his kingdom and if he wanted to me to be academically intelligent he would have designed me that way. Furthermore, God does not compare my intellect to others, for he does not see as mortals see; he looks at my heart (1 Sam 16.7). Subsequently, God does not want me to compare myself to others, he does not see me as inadequate and therefore I should not judge myself as being so. Finally God wants my sole focus to be on serving him with a single mind and willing heart (1 Chr 28.9) and to find my identity in him and him alone. Jesus found his identity solely in his heavenly Father, he did not entrust himself to others or try to find his “self” in what others were saying about him, nor did he compare himself to others. No, his identity what firmly established on the solid foundation of how God saw him and he set his mind solely on the mission God had sent him into the world to do. What I learnt the other morning was that God wants me to entrust myself to him alone and to find my identity in him, because he has created me and set me apart for a particular purpose, one that is probably going to be more practical and “on the ground work”, something that is more relational than academic because that is how he has designed me.
Do you find your identity in Christ? Do you know that he has set you apart for a specific purpose? Or do you find yourself comparing your abilities to others, wishing that you were smarter, or better at teaching, or better at hearing God, or maybe better at speaking? Whatever it is, know that God has designed you just the way you are. He formed your inward parts, giving you specific strengths that he can use for the building up of his kingdom. If you are willing, he will use you for his purposes.