May 23, 2017 by maryruwe
Have you ever felt that you were invisible? That no one sees your talents, your gifts, your potential, or God’s plan for your life? Probably all of us can identify with that feeling or situation at least once in our life. Some years ago I was talking with a friend and I heard the words, “Make your own shadow”. That statement caught us both a bit by surprise and I believe ministered to both of us. In other words, we don’t have to depend on others knowing our gifts and talents to make a difference in this world; God knows them. He knows them best. We don’t even have to depend on others to encourage us, we can encourage ourselves in the Lord, as David did (1 Samuel 30:6). We can also take encouragement from the Word of God as we read in Joshua 1:9 to be strong and of a good courage, for God is with us wherever we go.
As we submit and commit our heart to God’s plan for our lives, He will reveal to us and bring to pass His ultimate plan for our lives; just probably not all at once. Very rarely, if ever, does God show us the whole picture or plan all at once. If He did, then we wouldn’t need to live by faith but only by obedience. Of course obedience is important to our walk and fellowship with God but the Bible tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). It is also imperative to know that when we walk by faith, we will walk in obedience; but it is also true and possible to walk in obedience and never by faith. Example would be the difference between Abel and Cain when they offered their sacrifices unto God. God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4:3-7). Cain was obedient as far as bringing an offering to God, but his heart was not right and therefore his sacrifice was not acceptable to God. Another example is Esau and Jacob. Esau did not honor his birthright and therefore lost it to Jacob, his younger brother over a bowl of soup! (Genesis 25:29-34)
Everyone makes some kind of shadow, the question is, “What kind of shadow do you leave”? Though it is true that we must be a good follower to be a good leader, it is also true that how we follow and how we lead influences others; that’s how we make our own shadow. The question is, “do you want your shadow look like the world, or look like Jesus”? Do we want our influence to be ungodly or Godly?
If we just follow after what the world says we should be and do then we’ll walk in accordance to this world, its darkness, its gloom, and its waywardness from God. The Bible tells us in James 4:4 that to walk in line with the world’s way is enmity with God. In other words, to be a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. God is not mad at anyone; He wants the best for everyone. It’s in this worldly obscurity that we lose our shadow of influence and purpose for our life. We cannot live under two masters. Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 teaches us that we must choose who we will bow to and live for; each day we make the choice of who we will live for – Satan or God? It is that simply.
If living by the rules of the world – political correctness, etc – we identify with the world and lose our spiritual identity with God, then the opposite is also true: that living by the rules of God we will gain our spiritual identity in Jesus and lose the identity of the world in our lives. As a Christian our identity should reside in who Jesus is and who we are in Him. As a child of God, our shadow – the way we live our life – should reflect His characteristic of love, which leads us into obedience to His Word.
Now you and I both know that a shadow, in and of itself is not real, has no life or power to do anything, that it only “appears” to leave a mark of what is real; BUT A SHADOW DOES represent the real thing. And that’s the point, the shadow – our lives – show what and who we represent, either our attachment to the world or our attachment to God. Each of us makes this decision for ourselves, no one else can decide for us. Think of the following guidelines as some beginning steps we can pursue to develop our own accurate representation of Jesus in our lives.
S – Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, Matthew 6:33
H – Have the faith of God, Mark 11:20
A – Always be ready to give an answer for what you believe, 1 Peter 3:15
D – Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4
O – Obey the voice of the Lord your God and his blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, Deuteronomy 28:2
W – Walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory, 1 Thessalonians 2:12
When we follow these steps we will make and leave a shadow-mark (an example) for others to follow that will help lead them to the love, mercy, forgiveness and glory to God.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for teaching us that when we submit to your plan and purpose for our lives that we don’t lose our identity but we find it. As your child we have your nature in us; help us O Lord to not conform to this world as we keep our minds renewed to Your Word. May each live according to your plan for their lives, and bring glory and honor to you.