No, you cannot be whatever you want to be

Documentation Published on Friday, 22 October 2021

No, you cannot be whatever you want to be. Rather be what God wants you to be.

No, you cannot be whatever you want to be: Rather be what God wants you to be

Let me get this straight – there are too many Christians who are so eager to please others that they will act totally contrary to the Word of God just so that they do not upset them. This week’s message comes from a statement that can at best be described as utterly worldly, not based in the Word of God at all, and one that shows how self-centred people can be. It is this expression:

You can be whatever you want to be.

No, you cannot, and most likely never will. As much as secular motivational speakers want you to believe this, very seldom do people even manage to live normal lives, let alone excel and become one of the 0.001% of achievers they are told they can be. All of us have dreams. Many want to become astronauts. Lately there is this advertisement on satellite TV, that women should strive to be better than men. Then one person says that not even does she want to be the first woman to be on Mars, she wants to be the first person. How self-centred and feminist is this? There is so much to be done on Earth, so why should money be wasted on space exploration? If we cannot even put money aside to feed a hungry child today, then spending billions on some dream of reaching Mars is nothing short of diabolical. Things that are important are swept under the carpet and instead man revels in his selfish achievements.

Let us look at this phrase again: You can be whatever you want to be. Nowhere in this sentence is there any trace of God’s will for your life or even a hint of reality. It is filled with self-centred egotism. Motivational speakers will speak to you, from their perspective, in the second person. You, however, receive the message in the first person and think of it like this: I can be whatever I want to be. The problem with this mentality is that some, when they do not achieve what they thought they would, blame everybody else and may become resentful. Those who do make it, may become arrogant about it, boasting in their own success.

How about offsetting a worldly, you-centred view like this with a Christ-centred one?

13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13

The focus here is not on yourself anymore, but on Jesus Christ who gives you the strength. Were it not for Him, and His power working in your life, you would be nothing, definitely not even close to the “whatever” you envisaged. However, when your strength is found in Him, He makes it possible for you to be not what you want to be, but that His purpose for your life can be realised. Jesus Himself teaches us this:

30I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.John 5:30

Note that He clearly states that, despite His status as God, as Lord and Saviour He willingly relinquished some of the privileges He enjoyed in heaven. While on Earth, He relies on the will of the Father to be realised. He does not seek His own will, and this sets an example for us. Let us look more closely at this:

5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:5-8

This is known as the Kenosis theory (verse 6 to 8) and has been misapplied by many Bible teachers. It never states that Jesus gave up on his Divine nature. He retained it, otherwise His many miracles could not have been performed. When Paul says Jesus made Himself of no reputation, took on the form of a servant, humbled Himself, and became obedient, it should hit home with us that He set an example for us to follow. We are required to give up the ambitions we have for our own lives and allow God’s will to be realised instead. Does this mean that I should not have any ambitions? Not in the least. In fact, I honour God when I achieve great things, but only when these things are His will for me. I can be whatever I want to be if I want to, but outside of His will this will ultimately be a failure and bring me no closer in my relationship with my Maker.

We need to study the Word in its full context. Here is a verse that is often misapplied:

23Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.Mark 9:23

This does not mean that with my limited sporting abilities I will become a world champion pole vault athlete, no matter how much I train and no matter much how I believe. Very clearly, this verse must be seen in its context. The parent brings his child to Jesus. The child has a foul spirit causing him agony, but the father sees Jesus as the only hope he has, to have his son healed. Thus, Jesus says to him that if he, the parent, believes in Him, in Jesus, then all things are possible, focusing on healing the child, nothing else. It is not in the power of the parent, but in the belief of the power of Jesus, that the healing can be accomplished.

Think of a time in your life when a best plan you had “went south”. Why did it happen? Was it really a plan that you knew God was the project manager of, or was it of your own doing, something you wanted? We are often most effective in God’s kingdom when we accomplish nothing in ourselves but when He works through us. The psalmist was very aware that he should not aim too high, but instead live out his life knowing that it was done in God’s will:

1LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. – Psalm 131:1


What are your desires for your life? What do you plan on achieving? How do these aspirations align with what God has in store for you? Should He ask you today to lay down all of it for a reason He does not reveal to you, are you going to be obedient and accept it? In the end, the words of Jesus resound clearly, spoken at a time of great distress, knowing that His death was close:

39…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.Matthew 26:39b

Today, will it be your will, or His will? You choose, but you also then accept the outcome.

Send to a friend

Return to home page