“...my servant Caleb has a different spirit...” Numbers 14:24 (NIV).
Recently I heard Pastor Mike Parsons from the UK discuss genetic and DNA manipulation. Fortunately for the science challenged like me, he kept it simple. Two years of struggling through high school biology and chemistry confirmed what wasn't in my future.
Pastor Mike broached the subject of cloning and posed a few interesting questions. What would happen to a clone when it died? Without a spirit, where would it go? I'd never consider this. With the advent of 3D printers capable of reproducing organs from human tissue is a complete human clone far behind? It might be closer than we think.
Many Christians oppose cloning for a myriad of reasons, but practice it in everyday life. How many times has a church or a ministry found a successful method of evangelism, church growth – take your pick – and now we have the latest Christian craze.
Many years ago a large church in South Korea experienced explosive growth and still maintained personal contact with the members via home fellowship groups. Soon churches worldwide adopted some form of this model. Our home church at that time instituted a similar program that achieved a measure of success. As far as I know, no one else replicated the results of the South Korean church. Many tried, but the plan fizzled or just limped along.
On a more personal level, have you ever tried to emulate someone else in order to achieve the success they've attained? Have you attempted to squeeze yourself into a box that kind of looks like them and feels nothing like you? I have. It didn't work.
We're inclined to look for shortcuts. It's easier and faster to replicate what works for others than to discover what's best for us. When organizations or individuals try to clone someone else, there's no spirit in it. We however, want to save time, energy and resources. There's no need to reinvent the wheel – right?
God created people not clones. We're each unique with a specific destiny and purpose only we can achieve. Why try to adapt another person's methods to fulfill our call when we're not the same? What Holy Spirit ordains and breaths life into for one individual will produce God designed results. We need to get on board with Holy Spirit if we want God not good ideas.
The only reason for churches or people to copy cat someone else is an unwillingness to find out from God what they should do. The Lord steadfastly refuses to be reduced to a formula – He's too much of a creative genius. He doesn't go on extended vacations to recharge. He hands on all of the time.
In order to take his inheritance of the Promised Land, Caleb needed a different spirit. This close friend of Joshua could have mimicked Moses' successor and hoped for good results. He resisted the temptation to take the easy way. He followed God's lead and succeeded.
What about you? How have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others? Which of their behaviors/strategies did you try to make work for you? How can you better use your time with God to discover His plan for your life? Why not stop right now and ask God what He thinks about you and your situation? He may change your course completely or just tweak a few minor things. Either way, you'll have the Spirit behind you who brings life. Wouldn't you rather be the person God designed you to be than just a clone?
p.s. I've included a link to Steve Taylor's song about clones in the church. It may make you wince but there is truth contained in the lyrics.