A few years ago I attended a weekend conference at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. It was a men’s conference and one of the speakers was Ray Lewis, the outstanding linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. He spent a long time on his testimony, approximately 30 minutes longer than what he was allotted. But we all loved it. The one thing I remember extremely well is the central theme of his message. “Stop wearing someone else’s jersey”; instead, wear your own jersey. We understand this as all sports fans have their favorite player or players and they have a jersey or jerseys with their name on the back.
It’s great to have our heroes and our role models. We all seem to want to emulate someone either more famous, or popular, or talented than we are. And most of us have a way of wearing masks for different occasions to portray something about ourselves other than who we really are. And as fathers, and possibly mothers, we have a tendency to direct our children to be what we want for them rather than what they’re actually designed for. Even to the point of living vicariously through our children.
But God didn’t create us this way. He has a ‘body’, called the church, made up of individuals and families that are designed to complete the ‘body’ to bring glory to him. Scripture teaches us about the different gifting. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ… For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.” I Cor. 12.12,14
What this really says to me is, quit trying to be something that you are not. Be who you are. When you really stop and analyze this, it is so freeing. The masks are not necessary, you’re involved in what God has gifted you to do, and the amount of energy you save can be used more effectively. When I played high school football, I was an offensive guard and a defensive linebacker. One day our coach decided to try me as a running back in practice. I was a miserable failure. It lasted about 10 minutes. That was not who I was.
In God’s infinite wisdom, he has uniquely created all of us. Psalm 139 expresses it well.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Vss. 13-16
You are not a mistake. You are uniquely and divinely created. You have a purpose which no one else can fulfill. So, be who you are! And take Ray Lewis’s advice; quit wearing somebody else’s jersey. God has knit one especially for you.