Steve’s Devotional – Take Off Your Gorilla Suit
MARCH 20, 2014
He was out of work, out of money and out of want ads. Desperate, he applied for employment at the county zoo. The zookeeper told him they didn’t really have any work, but he could make a few extra dollars by taking the place of the gorilla that had died the day before. Ordinarily, the man would not have done it. But he really needed money, so he accepted the job, put on the gorilla suit, and made his way to the gorilla cage.
It really wasn’t bad work. All he had to do was eat bananas and swing from a rope. After a while, he began to even like the job.
Then it happened. One day, while the man was swinging on the rope, it broke, depositing him over the fence into the lion cage. He yelled for help as the lion slowly moved toward him. The closer the lion got, the louder he yelled. Finally, the lion came right up to him, nudged him, and said, “Buddy, will you please shut up before we’re both out of a job!”
Are you wearing a gorilla suit? The difference between some Christians and the man in the gorilla outfit is that he was forced into his role, we aren’t. And yet, we tend to choose roles for which we’re not suited, which leads to much of our misery and frustration.
Have you ever seen Christians who seem to be very pure and very spiritual and yet are very miserable? Their problem is that they are playing a role they were never meant to play. Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). When we pretend to be good and pure, we have climbed into a gorilla suit.
Then there are those Christians who feel that everything they say comes as if from Sinai. They make all sorts of political and social pronouncements as if God himself had given them a corner on truth. God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). The person who acts as if he or she has a corner on truth has stepped into a gorilla costume.
My point? Almost all frustration and anxiety come from a refusal to be what or who one is.
Someone has said that every creature fulfills the purpose of its creation except man. Have you ever heard of a dog with ulcers? The reason a dog doesn’t get them is because a dog doesn’t try to be anything other than a dog. Birds don’t try to swim and fish (other than those designed to do so) don’t try to fly. All of creation glorifies God by being that for which it was created. The exception is man.
Man was created to glorify God, to be the one creature who would respond in love to a loving Creator. The psalmist expressed the proper position of man: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26). Paul said, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Allowing your life to praise and to glorify God may sound like a rather dull enterprise, but it isn’t. If you were created for that purpose (and you were), there will be a coming home—a fulfillment of the reason for your creation.
A Christian’s learning his or her place—glorifying God in everything—is a lot like a baby’s first taste of applesauce. There is a sweetness, a sense of rightness, a sense of rest, a sense of reality that doesn’t come from any other source.
Christians are unhappy because they try to play a role for which they were not created. They were created to glorify God. It is the desire to be God rather than to worship God that creates an almost unbearable tension in the Christian. An elderly pastor once made an excellent point: “It is very hard to glorify God and yourself at the same time.”
So then…take off your gorilla suit. You won’t be as hot under the collar. You’ll feel better…and even look better.
Time to Draw Away
Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-36; 2 Corinthians 10:12-18.
Spend some time right now just lifting your voice toward the throne and praising God. Then go to him as your loving Father and climb into his lap. Talk. Listen. Cry. Laugh. Praise.
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