In Pastor Tracy’s opening message in this year’s, At The Movies series, she looks at Marvel’s, Black Panther, and unravels a deeper truth to how we have been created to make a difference in the world around us. In the movie, Black Panther, T’Challa and the people of Wakanda face major conflict when vibranium, a resource they’ve been hoarding for years, is threatened to be released to Wakandan operatives around the world in order to aid other countries. Through the challenge of his throne and the release of vibranium, T’Challa comes to realize how powerful a resource vibranium actually is and the impact it can make on the generations to come, if he did in fact share it with the rest of the world. The understanding T’Challa gains motivates him to establish a Wakandan embassy in the United States. Pastor Tracy unravels how we can harness the power in the gifts God gave us, as we look to give them away in order to make a difference.
The difference we make begins when we understand who God has created us to be. Too often do we see ourselves through the lens of our negative experiences. We allow our history to define who we are, identifying ourselves with the shame, closed doors, and even the mistakes of others in our past. We let the brokenness of our lives shape our hearts, resulting in a fruitless life. Yet, God said He would remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). God sees us as He created us, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image in order to do His handiwork (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10). Our impact starts when we come to believe that God had something in mind when He created us because it propels our hearts to chase the good and prosperous plans God predestined for us (Jeremiah 29:11). God doesn’t want to keep His plans. His desire is to give them to us, so we may witness the glory He created us for. But it is only when we believe we’ve been made for glory are we able to freely and confidently pursue it.
Our confidence in our God-given identity is so vital to the difference we make, because it is our confidence which draws us into a deeper dependence on God. As we believe we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are called to do greater works than Jesus, we have no other option than to rely on God’s grace and mercy to carry us into our destiny (John 14:12, Zechariah 4:6). More importantly, however, as we believe we are called to do great works we come to the understanding God has not called us to hold onto what we’ve been given, but rather to release it in the same manner in which He did. God sent His Son, Jesus, risking everything so that we may experience an abundant life (John 3:16, John 10:10). Yet it was the selflessness and confidence Jesus had in the Father which drove Jesus to the cross, giving us access beyond the veil. In the same manner, as we have confidence in our identity in Christ, we no longer rely on our self-preservation, but depend on God’s power and strength working in us. When we strive to make a difference we hinder ourselves from walking in our purpose because it creates a lack of trust that God is faithful to fulfill HIs promises and provide more resources; when we depend on God, we walk confidently knowing He who started a good work in us is faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). We are able to give our talents freely and impact those around us because we have faith that through our selflessness we will be given a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).
- Do you see yourself fearfully and wonderfully made? Do you believe that God took His time when He created you?
- What are things that stop you from believing God has made you to be a masterpiece?
- Are there any areas of your past that you have let shape your heart?
- What are things you have been holding onto that can influence the lives of those around you? What causes you to do so?
- When it comes to your purpose are you dependent on God or do you strive in your own strength?
Thank God for making you fearfully and wonderfully. Thank God for taking the time to choose you by name and predestine you for good works. Ask God that He would show you more of who He created you to be. Pray that God would continue to give you fresh revelation of how He wants you to use your gifts and talents to impact others. Thank God for giving you your next steps in regards to your purpose. Pray for the Holy Spirit to flow stronger in and through you. Praise God that you were miraculously made.
Encourage your group to continue to see themselves as God does. Pull out the treasure in each of your group members. Encourage your group to find ways to use their gifts and talents to impact the life of another. Remind your group that making the biggest difference can happen through the smallest acts of kindness. Lead your group to scripture that reinforces who God has made them to be and the difference they can make.