II CORINTHIANS 10:12-13: “For we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but within the limits of the area that God has assigned to us—to reach even as far as you.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Do I compare myself to others? Do I limit what God desires to do in my life because I am not content with what He is already doing? Is the grass always greener somewhere else, while I allow my grass to turn brown for lack of care?
Today we live in an age of discontent. It is fueled by a constant barrage of television shows and marketing campaigns that tell us our life would be fulfilled if only we won the coveted prize, or purchased the coveted product. Thousands audition to be the next great star, but only one wins. What happens to the ones who go home? What do they do with their gifts and talents?
We are always comparing ourselves to others. As Christians, inherently we know this is wrong, but we secretly do it anyway. Pastors judge their success by the size of their congregations and buildings. Teachers judge their success by their credentials and publications. Evangelists judge their success by the number of souls they have led to the Lord. Believers judge their success by the numbers of blessings they are experiencing in their lives.
Yet, there is always a church that is bigger, a teacher with greater credentials and publications, an evangelist who has held a bigger rally, and a believer who has received more blessings. What does the average person do? Do we simply stop trying, sink into despondency, and settle for less than God has intended for our lives? Or, do we learn to rejoice in the place that God has put us, and thrive within the limits of His calling for our lives?
Every life, every calling, and every person has limits. There are self imposed limits. We are never to settle for these. However, there are also God ordained limits. These limits are the boundaries of our personalities, our giftings, and our abilities. They are the boundaries that truly make us who we are and show the uniqueness of God’s handiwork in our lives. When we learn to run within these boundaries we find joy, fulfillment, and contentment. When we fight against them we live in continual disappointment and content.
The great Apostle Paul had limits.
- “But we will not boast beyond limits, but within the limits of the area that God has assigned to us—to reach even as far as you.”
Paul was clear, he was not encroaching upon, desiring, or envying someone else’s work. The Corinthian church was his responsibility and his devotion because it was within his limits. Paul was not trying to impose his authority beyond what God had called him to. He was simply trying to be faithful within the limits of his God ordained calling.
What would happen in our lives if we did the same? What if we stopped lamenting the person we were not, the gifts we did not have, and the achievements we had not accomplished. What if instead we rejoiced in the person God has made us, focused on developing the gifts and talents we do have, and gave thanks each day for all the blessings and accomplishments He has blessed us with. When we take our eyes off of others we can truly be effective in becoming all God has called us to be. In turn, it is only then that we will find joy, fulfillment, contentment, and be truly effective in helping others.
Lord, this morning, help me to walk in the joy, fulfillment, and contentment of my calling. Help me to give you thanks for the limits you have placed on my life so that I can be truly fruitful and fulfilled. Help me to focus on developing all You have given me so that I can be truly effective in blessing others.
In Jesus Name!