I think it was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said that there were many miniature Martyn Lloyd-Jones running around England in this time. What he means is that there’re a lot of imitators. The cliché of “imitation is the highest form of flattery” is only a cliché when it comes to preaching. In my years of teaching this discipline, I’ve come to the conclusion that each person is uniquely equipped by God to carry out the task. No two people do it quite the same way. I think the biggest problem with imitation is insecurity. Many people are not comfortable in their own skins. Some hate their voices. Others feel nausea when they speak in public. Still others think that they’re too short, ugly, fat, skinny, small, big, and you can fill in the blank. Some may fill in two blanks. The fact is, there is always something we don’t like about ourselves, but no one else knows about that “something.”
When we’re standing on the pulpit, we must realize that each of us is uniquely created for the task. We should not try to be someone else, no matter how great that someone else is. Some may imitate Joel Osteen because he’s such a great orator. Others hate him, but no one is going to sound like Joel Osteen other than Osteen himself. Most men are hardly that handsome and almost none of us can dress quite as sharp. Love him or hate him, he is Joel Osteen. You are you, last time I checked. Negatively, we have to accept that we can’t change certain things. Positively, we have to affirm that each of us has qualities that those famous preachers do not have. In order to be comfortable in our own skins, we should affirm the above qualities.
“Be yourself. Accept yourself, as God accepts you.” This is yet another cliché we use only for junior high kids. All of us know that we have things we need to change. Being comfortable in our own skins does not mean we do not improve ourselves. It also does not mean that we need to improve everything all at once. This goes for both preaching and life. My suggestion is that I need to find one thing to improve upon until I perfect it and then go to the second item.
What am I trying to say in this post? I can summarize it in this paradoxical sentence: be comfortable but not self-satisfied in your own skin.
By the way, I’m not going to tell you what I don’t like about myself, just in case you’re wondering. Don’t bother asking …