When we were at the World Missions Summit earlier this month, one of the speakers, Scott Martin, talked about Predisposition vs. Predestination. One of his illustrations stuck in my mind and this is my version of his story. Just giving credit where due.
My daughter went to Kindergarten this year. As a parent, you’re always checking out the other kids at the Open House to see which ones are going to be problems. Inevitably there is a girl who is already interested in boys. She’s the girl that was cute and flirty as a baby. Now she’s the girl who sneaks her mother’s lipgloss before leaving the house in the morning. She may only be 5, but she’s got boys all around her. By the time she’s in late elementary school, she’s already had a string of boy friends and a waiting list far into junior high. That girl was PREDISPOSED to be flirt. She’s going to be trouble once she get’s into high school and you can see that on the first day of Kindergarten.
Then there’s the boy in the ninja costume at the Kindergarten Open House. In the nursery as a baby, he was “the biter”. As a toddler, he would constantly grab toys from other babies and whack them over the head with it. He is the one who will spend recess time practicing his karate kicks on the weaker children. If you build a block tower, he will be the one to knock it over. By elementary school, he is familiar with the Principal’s office, and by junior high, he’s a thug. That’s the kid that you’re sure is headed for “Juvie” sometime in his 3 year high school career. You can tell on the first day of Kindergarten that this boy is PREDISPOSED to be a bully.
Each one of us has character traits predisposed, deposited in our DNA. If you are the parent of the flirty girl or the bully boy, you might try to counter-weigh those in-born traits with some environmental conditioning. You might succeed to a degree. But far too often parents are in denial and young people just default to their natural tendencies without trying to do anything different or to fight against their genetics. It’s far easier, that’s for sure.
I can not tell you how many times I have heard someone excuse the bad behavior of another person by saying, ”Oh, that’s just how they are. You just have to understand them.” DNA is powerful, but there has to be an override switch thrown every once and a while. I have also heard people say, “I could never be a missionary. I’m just not wired like that. It’s just not ME.”
What I want to say is, “GOOD! Cause it’s not supposed to be about YOU! It’s supposed to be about JESUS.” Both my husband and I have, in our own ways, kicked against the restraints of our personal make up to become missionaries. My husband lived in the same house all his life, so moving to a foreign country was not something he was automatically attracted to. He is a home body. Plus, he hates public speaking, yet God called him to preach. It’s taken lots of practice and he’s good at it now, but he doesn’t enjoy it. He is not PREDISPOSED to being a preacher or missionary.
And I have a quiet, thoughtful personality. I am stressed out by talking to people. I need big chunks of alone-time. So anything related to ministering to people drains me. Put me behind the scenes and I’m happiest. I am not PREDISPOSED to being conversational or “putting myself out there” so to speak. It looks like we were both unlikely candidates to do this job. So why do we do it? Because we feel that God asked us to go and do something.
And he’s asking you too. He’s asking you to do something that is uncomfortable. He’s asking you to push against your natural tendencies. He’s asking you to lay aside your disposition, your excuses that “it’s just not ME”. He’s asking you to make it about HIM. When you get your eyes off yourself and onto HIM, then your ears will also tune to his voice. Then you will hear him calling you. Do you hear him yet?
“The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God.”
~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest