Our family loves dogs. Between all of us, we have 4 distinctly different canines in our family. We got to enjoy all of them this past Christmas season as our children came to visit. David and I own a very mellow, 8-year-old golden retriever named Grace. Extremely gentle and sweet, she also stays close and remains acutely sensitive to everyone’s mood. She’ll nestle her head in your lap as you watch a movie, or she’ll bound around the kitchen when you walk into the house and express your excitement in seeing her. Our daughter Katie, son-in-law Curt, and grandson Landon own a boxer-shepherd mix named Lexie. Their dog is extremely loyal and devoted, following her family wherever they go, and expressing concern whenever her “little boy” seems upset. Our daughter Sarah and her husband Ben each brought a dog into their new marriage. Sarah’s Henry, a Vizsla hound, possesses boundless energy and excitement. My husband once played fetch with Henry for 8 hours straight during a Saturday get-together. Then there’s Ace, a pitbull mix. He is such a protector, patrolling the yard, and making certain everyone remains safe. All four dogs are extremely affectionate and love their family.
As I observed these precious pooches and their unique personalities over the holidays, I thought about how God shapes and crafts each of us with specific personality traits . . . and how we should embrace, celebrate, and move forward in how He made us.
God made us specifically and individually
Ephesians 2:10 says we are the Lord’s workmanship, the word poiema in the Greek. It means a product, a fabric, a work, of the works of God as Creator, or as one of my pastors likes to say, God’s masterpiece. In other words, the Creator of the universe fashioned and shaped each of us, including our personality traits, like a fine tapestry that is woven together from many different threads and results in a one-of-a-kind, beautiful work of art. The God of the universe created you, and He knows what He is doing. No one else on this entire planet is exactly like you. God authored your life, and He looked at you and said His creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31, NASB).
Just as Lexie is loyal and Grace is sensitive to others, and just as Ace protects and Henry spreads joy, each of us possesses valuable personality traits wired into us by God. Many of us waste a great deal of time wanting to be different than how God designed us. I know I have done that. I’m sure it grieves the heart of God because He put a great deal of love, design, purpose, and power into who He made each of us to be. He tells us we are, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, NASB).
God made us with a divine purpose in mind
The Lord wants to use the way He made each of us to achieve His own special purposes. The remainder of Ephesians 2:10, NASB, says we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” In other words, the Lord wants to use what He designed into us for His kingdom purposes . . . to draw others to Himself.
I can see the Lord’s fierce protection in Ace, His compassion in Grace, His faithfulness in Lexie, and His joy in Henry. On a much grander scale, the Lord wants others to see aspects of His Son Jesus in our lives: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27, NASB). That word glory is doxa in the original Greek form, and it means to manifest [display], give an estimation of; hence [resulting in] praise, honor, and glory. God designed you and placed you in this world not only so that you would know Him but also so that your unique personality and personal traits could be used to reflect the character, nature, and ways of His Son to people who desperately need Him. What a beautiful calling and purpose!
My husband is a lot more like Henry and Ace. He is a fierce protector of others who are vulnerable. He can lead a group forward in safety like a pitbull on patrol. He also possesses an energetic, strong personality and a great sense of humor, so he can engage well with others in different social settings. I relate more to Lexie and Grace. I’m more of an introvert. I hang back and observe others and settle in next to someone who might need a little encouragement or support. I key into other people’s feelings very easily and can relate to their strong emotions. Both David and I relate differently to others because of how God made us, and I’m certain the Lord made us this way to help different people in different ways . . . or maybe the same people in different ways.
God doesn’t make junk
Psalm 139:14, NASB, adds, “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Isaiah 64:8, NASB, says, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.” Our Lord knows what He is doing. He is the Master Designer. We don’t need to question His work or the purpose of His designs in each of us (Isaiah 29:16; 45:9).
We can choose to accept and celebrate how God made us—those traits He placed in us that mirror His own. At the same time, we can go to Him about our struggles and character flaws too, and we can allow Him to reshape and mold us into a clearer image of His Son Jesus. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB).
Our family dogs don’t try to be anything other than who they are. Their unique personalities shine every time we get together. They constantly remind me of our Masterful Creator. As we stand on the cusp of a new year, may each of us move forward as the individuals God designed us to be, and may His unique designs bring others closer to His Son.
Question: How has the Lord used the personal traits of others to teach you more about Jesus? Comment at the link below.
Ephesians 2:10; Genesis 1:31; Psalm 139:14; Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 64:8; 29:16; 45:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18