I recently attended an event featuring my favorite band, Hillsong United. For me, they are currently the pinnacle of Christian music and creativity. I love everything they do. And I believe in it, because their hearts for Jesus Christ are so evident.
In my own artwork and my own music, I often find myself emulating them. Usually more subtly than blatantly, but my design friends will often smile and acknowledge Hillsong's influence on my creativity.
From a worship leading perspective, I have a great amount of respect and admiration for Hillsong United’s leader, Joel Houston. He has written many of their “hits,” including “The Stand” and “From the Inside Out.” He oversees all the creative processes and seems to be blessed with an unending supply of great worship songs. And as I was reminded at the event recently, he’s just a great worship leader. He’s pure-hearted and humble, and his heart for Jesus Christ is so evident in the way he leads worship.
Basically he’s a super-charged version of what I want to be. I want to be that creative, I want to be that Spirit-led, I want to be that respected, that influential!
But God, in His gracious love for me, said something to me at that Hillsong event that brought me conviction, encouragement and peace: “Don’t try to be like Joel Houston. Try to be like me.”
That’s the secret! That’s the secret to finding fulfillment in life! Not trying to be like someone else, but rather trying to be like Jesus Christ. Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6)
I realized that I’ve been spending most of my time and resources trying to be creative, but I haven’t been trying very hard to be compassionate. In the music and design world it’s all about staying on the cutting edge, which naturally leads us to compare ourselves to others. But when we turn our eyes away from those we feel inferior to, and away from our own inequities, and fix our gaze solely on Jesus and everything He's done and everything He is, the things of earth grow strangely dim — things like inadequacy and disappointment.
God’s plan for us is not to become more like the people we look up to; it’s for us to become more like Christ. And it seems to me that the people who truly get that are the ones blessed with amazing lives and amazing ministries. In Matthew 16:25 Jesus says, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” In that passage He is telling us that He is the only way to truly find meaning and fulfillment in life.
You may be thinking that you lack the qualities to be Christ-like. Myself, I struggle with being compassionate. But where does compassion come from? Things like compassion and humility are not natural for most people — we have to pray and ask God to help us be more like Him, and I’ve already seen God answer that prayer for me in some neat ways.
Don’t waste time trying to emulate or compare yourself to anyone else, because you will continue to be disappointed. Don’t let the world tell you that you’re a failure, or that you’ll never be good enough. You’re not supposed to be like everyone else. You were fearfully and wonderfully made, with a purpose. Let’s let Christ be our goal, our role model.
• Cameron Sprinkle is a worship leader, tech junkie and loves his wife, Karissa; cream soda; and above all, Jesus. Follow him @cameronsprinkle on Twitter or cameronsprinkle.tumblr.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.