Like many of you, I love to hear good speakers and great ideas, but they often unintentionally encourage me (and maybe you) to simply copy the way they do things and become clones. What works so successfully with other personalities and cultures isn’t necessarily the answer for us—as parents, ministers, small group leaders, or spouses. We may determine success by numbers, but perhaps God is more concerned that we hear and follow him.
Why do we substitute the solutions God has given others for his answers for us?
I can think of three reasons. Perhaps we are intimidated by the stories we hear of their success and believe that it is the program or method that has achieved it rather than God. Or maybe we’re simply too hurried to wait on God so we seek shortcuts. Finally, it’s not easy to sit and listen for God’s still small voice for any of us, but especially Type A personalities who want to act—and act now.
Avoiding conferences and good speakers isn’t the cure for the clone trap, however. It’s not bad or wrong to listen to ways that others have been led. It’s only a problem if we take God’s leading for them as exactly the same as ours. We must replace our tendency to lean on others with reliance on God.
How can you hear God?
• Recognize that listening well involves a journey. Each time you act on what you believe that God has shown you, your ability to recognize his voice grows.
• Turn off other noise so that you can actually hear. Technology and multi-tasking interfere with listening.
• Stop everything for a few minutes each day, asking God to speak to your heart. Give him room and time to speak.
• Read verses that build your faith that God will speak, such as the description of our Good Shepherd: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice,” (John 10:4).
• When something comes to mind and you wonder if it’s is God, sift it through the truth of the Bible, the character of God, and the wisdom of other godly people to help you verify it. Test it against James 3:17: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Let’s all take what we hear from others’ success stories and let God use them or not, only as he sees fit in our lives and situations.
What suggestions do you have to avoid becoming a clone?
If BOW can help you as a leader in any way, let us know. We seek to help you find God’s unique direction for you and your ministry rather than give you pat answers.