by Rick Warren
“Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out …. You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit… Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” (Psalm 139:13-16 MSG)
God never wastes an experience. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).
At Saddleback, we help people consider five areas of experience that will influence the kind of ministry they are best shaped for:
Educational experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school?
Vocational experiences: What jobs have you enjoyed and achieved results while doing?
Spiritual experiences: What have been the meaningful or decisive times with God in your life?
Ministry experiences: How have you served God in the past?
Painful experiences: What are the problems, hurts, and trials from which you’ve learned?
Your S.H.A.P.E. was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. “What right have you, a human being, to cross-examine God? The pot has no right to say to the potter: ‘Why did you make me this shape?’ Surely a potter can do what he likes with the clay!” (Romans 9:20-21 JB)
Instead of trying to reshape ourselves to be like someone else, we should celebrate the S.H.A.P.E. God has given to each of us.
Understanding your S.H.A.P.E. builds self-esteem. There’s an epidemic of low self-esteem in our society today. Most people do not like themselves. One reason, studies have shown, is that more than 50 percent of all people are in the wrong jobs. I believe that genuine self-esteem — as opposed to pop psychological self-esteem — is built on two biblical truths. It’s not about raising yourself up by your boot straps or thinking positively or the “I’m OK; you’re not so hot” philosophy. Genuine self-esteem is built on your relationship with Jesus and knowing what he created you for.