A Beautiful Life
Updated: Sep 8
Is your life beautiful? A beautiful life isn’t automatic. More on that later.
This blog finds its roots in a group Bible study. During the study, I remarked about the ministry my book, "His Power for Your Weakness,” is supporting in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. I said, “Pastor Alex couldn’t do the ministry without me, and I couldn’t do it without him.” As I thought about it later, I realized what I said wasn’t even close to the whole truth.
A few hours later, the LORD pointed out to me that I had given Him no credit at all. He reminded me that I had previously told Pastor Alex in an email that I couldn’t do the ministry without him, he couldn’t do it without me, and neither one of us could do it without the LORD. That is much closer to the whole truth. But many more than we can name also deserve credit.
The LORD inspires and empowers me to express Christian truths simply. My primary spiritual gift is teaching through the written word. My writing springs from thousands of interactions with other people. They have influenced me through what they have said, done, and written.
God has given Pastor Alex and those who work with him the spiritual gift of teaching through the spoken word. They translate the English in which my book is written into Chichewa which is the native tongue of the region. They communicate it powerfully to people there. God has also shaped them (and you) through thousands of interactions with other people.
Pastor Alex, his group of teachers, and I are using God’s gifts. It’s foolish to act like we somehow can produce spiritual fruit through our efforts, abilities, and ingenuity. “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 NIV). Apart from remaining in Jesus the vine, no one can bear spiritual fruit (John 15:5). It’s a supernatural venture.
God revealed to me that we are all like hand-knit sweaters. He skillfully knits thousands of pieces of yarn (interactions with others) together to make each of us unique. No one in the world has the same set of shaping interactions with others that each of us does.
God’s knitting project began very early. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV). As we have seen, that knitting project is ongoing. We are responsible for how beautiful the sweater is.
The yarn God uses represents interactions with thousands of people in the molding of our values, beliefs, and convictions. We have something to say about the sweater’s design. Some interactions teach us what to say or do. Others teach us what not to say or do. We dare not get them confused.
Mysteriously, we influence others even while they are influencing us. Moreover, those who influence us are also like hand-knit sweaters influenced by others who were influenced by others. We don’t know the names of most of these influencers, but their values have been transmitted through many generations.
As sweaters, we are a work in progress. New yarn is continually being added. Some old yarn might even be removed, such as bad habits we learned from others and are leaving behind us.
Next year we can be better people. God will continually use others to make us more Christ-like if we allow it. As sweaters, we are unique, but how beautiful we are depends on whom we imitate.
Israel “imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, ‘Do not do as they do’” (2 Kings 17:15 NIV). By contrast, the Apostle Paul urges us to imitate him (1 Corinthians 4:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:9). The Apostle John challenges us to imitate what is good. The writer of Hebrews tells us “to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12 NIV). He also tells us to imitate the faith of our spiritual leaders (Hebrews 13:7).
See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
God has equipped and empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional discipleship resource. Pastors have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead people to Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 1,839 people to date. I invite you to check it out. https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/his-power-for-your-weakness