God Wants You to Be You
For most of us we have in our past a hidden pain. That pain is the pain of not fitting in. It probably was at some point in childhood. When it came, it probably caught you off-guard like an unseen sucker punch to the jaw. And it probably was enough to make you say, “I never want to be caught in that situation ever again”.
Having been in that situation once we tend to build up a reflex against doing the wrong thing, drawing the wrong sort of attention, or being caught on the wrong side of popular opinion. What that does is put us in the safety of the crowd, hiding us amongst everyone else.
Israel was like that. Israel didn’t want to stand out anymore. They were tired of being a “special” people. They just wanted to be like everyone else.
A King Like Everyone Else
19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
Israel wants a king. They want things to change. They want what seems to be working for everyone else.
Samuel patiently details what having an earthly king would actually look like. The cost involved. The bondages that would be incurred by Israel. But in spite of that, Israel was still emphatic; we want a king like everyone else.
A Unique Calling and Purpose
Taking an earthly king was not God’s best for Israel. God intended that He, and He alone, be the ruling and reigning King over Israel, His chosen people. Israel had a unique identity as the people God put aside for Himself. But rather than embrace that calling and live in that unique purpose, Israel spurned God in order to be just “like everyone else”.
I will take a wild guess and say that you haven’t prayed and asked God for a earthly king to rule over you lately. I know I haven’t.
But that’s not the main point of this passage. Rather, the key point here is just like Israel chose the identity of everyone else over their own unique created identity in God, so can you and I.
What does it mean to “have a king like everyone else”? It means to reject the unique calling and created purpose of God for your life, in order to be “just like everyone else”.
Three Pitfalls of “Having a King Like Everyone Else”
Whilst imitating the crowd might save you from the fear of ridicule or rejection, it doesn’t help you in your journey to become all God would have you be.
It didn’t work out for Israel and it won’t work out for you or I. Here are three pitfalls of choosing the way of “everyone else” over the way God has for us:
1. The Pitfall of Comparison
“…that we also may be like all the nations…”
When you decide to be like everyone else, you have taken you eyes of the main thing and put it on the wrong thing. If we are more concerned with what everyone else is doing, we stop being concerned with what God is doing. And that is what happens with our lives that are focused on remaining anonymous in the crowd.
Have you heard of the saying “keeping up with the Jones’”? It is a silly game we play to try and out-do our neighbours with better cars, better jobs, better gardens, better vacations. But guess what, you will always find someone with more, someone with something better, someone who is further advanced than you. Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply enjoy what you have?
Living a life of comparison does the same thing. Rather than enjoying and embracing the call God has given you we become pre-occupied with what everyone else is doing, because we’ve got to keep up. If you’re living like this, you are measuring your life by the wrong standard and that is a dangerous place to be.
2. The Pitfall of Judgment
“that our king may judge us…”
When you tie yourself to the crowd, you also tie yourself to their judgments.
What makes the cool kids cool and uncool kids uncool? The cool kids say so, that’s what!
When you submit your life to the crowd instead of to the Lordship and purposes of Christ, you also submit to the judgments of the crowd in your life. You then live under the standards of what the crowd says you should have, what the crowd says you should look like, what the crowd says you should value and be.
It’s not a place you want to be! The crowd’s judgments are not righteous — they are a bondage. Break them off and look to Christ and His abundant grace for you!
3. The Pitfall of Wrong Battles
“and go out before us and fight our battles”
Israel would rather accept the battles chosen by an earthly king than face the circumstances given to them by God.
None of us like the prospect of facing a battle in our lives. But they are a reality of the world in which we live. The key is to see God’s redemptive purpose in them. When we face our own battles, God uses them for our growth, to increase us, and for us to take ground for our destiny.
Allowing someone else to pick your battles for you is folly. God has another way.
We need to remind ourselves that each day, God wants and needs US to be the best US He created us to be. God needs you to be you!
I remember being taught the truth of Colossians 1:27b:
… Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Word tells us that it is Christ IN you that is the hope of glory, not Christ INSTEAD of you. God chooses to reveal His glory to other in and through you. This is His plan, His purpose and His choice. When we choose to embrace and pursue the unique call and purpose of God for our lives, then Christ in us, the Hope of Glory begins to come into view of others around us.
Let’s pursue that call today.
How have you come to understand your unique call and purpose? Leave a comment and encourage someone!