One of the things that kids love to do when they are young is dress up. I remember as a child I used to play dress ups at my friends house as we played super heroes and the like. One of the frustrating things playing these games was that my friend was taller than I was. This caused a bit of an issue, especially when I tried to put his costumes on my body. As much as I wanted to wear the clothes so that I could play, one undeniable truth remained; his clothes just wouldn't fit my body type.
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt like someone else was trying to dress you in their clothes? This very thing happened to the most well known king in the bible. King David while still a child went out onto the battle field to take on his enemy Goliath.
38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. - 1 Samuel 17:38-39
So what was the potential problem in this story? Well simply put King Saul thought that his way was right, he tried to get David to imitate what he thought was the right way to take on the enemy. The problem is that David was not Saul. What worked for Saul would never work for David. As the story goes on we see that David threw off the armour and took on the enemy using what he knew best. He used his skill and his ability and knowledge to defeat his enemy. Had David continued on with Saul's armour he would never have defeated Goliath.
What do we learn from this? Well often people and the world around us believe that they know what is best. Sometimes people try to dress us in someone else's clothes. An example of this is when a particular denomination attempts to imitate another denomination in an attempt to grow their church. The reality here is that what works for one church will not necessarily work for another. How one person serves in ministry will also be very different to another. One of the dangers of any church is that they compare themselves to other churches and then try to copy them. It is the same with Christian leaders.
How did David ultimately defeat Goliath?
Well he didn't listen to those who thought they knew best. David knew who he was in God and he knew whose battle he was fighting. David simply defeated the enemy as David; the way God created him to be. David fought as David not as Saul. He also used the weapons and skills that God had blessed him with. By doing this he was true to himself and was best equipped to take on Goliath.
So what do we learn from David?
Simply, you are who you are. You can never fill someone else's shoes and to be honest you would be silly to even try. Every church and every leader is designed to lead a certain way for a certain purpose. Can I encourage you today by saying don't try to be what you are not. Imitation may be flattering but it is certainly not innovative or successful in the long term. God has called each of us as Christians and as the denomination we have been placed in to operate a certain way. To try and be what we are not will never accomplish what God has called us to do.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.