I snagged a pretty sweet "White Elephant" gift this year at my family's gift exchange. I pulled the #1 ticket out of the twenty something people that were gathered which according to family rules meant that I was afforded the opportunity to take the gift of my choosing at the end of the night. Unfortunately, for my cousin from Pittsburgh that meant he wasn't going home with those three containers of candy and that sweet Bengals coffee mug. I quickly hustled my prize to my locked car (white elephant gift exchanges in my family don't necessarily end when the game ends). I've used this mug just about everyday since then for my morning coffee.
Last night as I was sipping my hot chocolate my wife mentioned her discovery that the new mug was not dishwasher safe. We laughed as we noticed that several significant portions of it were missing. The "Bengals" logo now said, "Benga" and portions of the striping was now missing as well. As I finished up my drink I began to reflect on the similarities between that mug and my life.
My mug was created in a way that coming into contact with a dishwasher brings harm. The mug was not designed for this type of atmosphere. Too much heat and too much pressure. As I think about my life I'm reminded that I was also created for specific atmospheres. When I put myself in situations that I wasn't created for I put myself in harm's way. I start to look different from how I was created to look. According to Genesis 1:27 I was created in the image of God and according to Isaiah 43:7 God says, "Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
God created me for His glory.
When I put myself in situations that I wasn't designed for I compromise God's original purpose for my life. My life and God's glorious purpose for it starts to get marred up. I lose some of my markings, it starts to become difficult for others to see what I was originally created for.
If I continue to stick my new coffee mug in the dishwasher it will eventually lose all of it's distinct markings. Sooner than later it will be indistinguishable from all other coffee mugs. It will still be a mug but not the glorious, wonderful mug it was created to be originally.
So it is true for our lives as well. You and I were created for God's glorious purposes. We were designed to be distinctly different. We were created in the image of God and part of our role is to protect that image. Guard what God has created you to become. Protect what He has done and continues to do in your life. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.