“You don’t need to be better than anyone else. You just need to be better than you used to be.” —Unknown
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”. 1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (NIV)
The refining process—which we must undergo to become what God created us to be—is a continuous one. It involves extreme pressure and, yes, pain. When God turns up the heat to melt gold, dross will rise to the surface. Dross is a collection of impurities. Sin is our impurity.
Hopefully, the refining of our spirit will bring about a forward motion in our walk with Christ. With each new lesson God sends our way, we should grow in our maturity and knowledge of Him. We are not to remain “baby” Christians all of our lives. Rather, we are meant to become mature, able to teach and witness to others.
There is danger when we start to compare our growth to the spiritual growth of others. Just as every child is different in personality and looks, so, too, is each one different in his or her abilities to learn. Growth patterns differ from individual to individual, whether we’re talking about academics or spiritual lessons from our Father.
When we compare our walk to that of another, one of two things may occur. We may become convicted and then inspired to follow that person’s good example, or we may become jealous and fall prey to the lies of the Enemy who jumps at any opportunity to pull down and discourage the children of God.
Just as the physical body has many parts, the body of Christ has many parts, too. Each part is dependent on the other. We need the eyes to see and the mouth to communicate. We need the hands to heal and serve and the feet to travel to far-off lands. All the parts are important. We can’t compare the importance of body parts, because all of the parts are essential and necessary.
Look to others and be encouraged, not condemned. Map your own course of spiritual growth and monitor it to see if you are either growing in your walk or remaining in the same place. You do not want to experience stunted growth. If you see yourself as still requiring milk, like a newborn baby Christian, then take steps to stretch yourself. Allow the trials in your life to bring about your maturity. Then rejoice over the gifts allotted to your fellow brothers and sisters and be thankful for your own personal and unique talents.
A rose is beautiful, but so is an iris. Both are flowers and both are special and unique. However, they bloom in different seasons and have different aromas. They both glorify God, but in different and unparalleled ways.
That is how we are in God’s eyes. We are beautiful and unique flowers in His heavenly flower garden. He adores and treasures each and every one of us.
Here, I provide you with one special Bible verse to meditate on:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–27 NIV)