“I TRY TO KEEP IT REAL. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT I’M PROJECTING TO THE WORLD. I’M JUST BUSY BEING MYSELF.”
Don’t Be Yourself
(For many people in our day, the mantras “just be yourself,” – “keep it authentic,” and “keep it 100” are the best ways to live. And when they do what happens to them? I’ll tell you what I think.
- Self-actualisation frequently prevails over self-discipline.
- Sincerity frequently trumps politeness.
- Self – whatever it may be – is to be praised rather than ever condemned.
Unfortunately, the temptation is that we can subtly implement this ideology within the church and in what ways? I’ll tell you what I think.
- We forgive sin inclinations as part of our personalities.
- Although every biblical command protests against it.Every description of sin calls it downright evil.
- And every discussion of holiness and God’s punishment cautions against accepting it.
How do we speak of it? I’ll tell you what I think.
- Oh, her? She’s just strong-willed and independent. That’s why she doesn’t submit to her husband.
- Oh him? Don’t worry, he isn’t trying to be inhospitable and cold towards everyone. He’s just shy and introverted.
- It’s true that he doesn’t lead spiritually but don’t fret. He just doesn’t go deep – that’s not who he is.
- Why isn’t she growing in her knowledge of God’s word?
- Because she just isn’t a reader.
In this generation without a doubt there appears to be an unassailable sense of self – and that is undeniably contrary to biblical thinking. Why? Because our distinct and individual personalities should and in reality, must bow to God’s standards, never vice versa.
So, what is needed?
- Wives, submitting to their husbands, whether they’re strong-willed or not.
- Introverts, being hospitable and kind, even if you incline to stow away for time alone.
- Husbands, leading their wives and washing her with the word, even if you’d prefer to just keep it light and casual.
- Christians, meditating on the word of God Day and night, even if you haven’t read any other book since your school days
You Must Be Born Again to be Truly Genuine.
Whether we believe it or not the truth yet remains that since our progenitors Adam and Eve’s fall, being genuine in the context of – “just be yourself,” – “keep it authentic,” and “keep it 100” has always been a hindrance rather than a blessing in God’s eyes. Since Adam and Eve sinned, our true selves have been completely preoccupied with themselves. Narcissism is like a virus even worse than Covid19 and all its variants combined – What is narcissism? It is a self-centred personality style characterised as having an excessive interest in one’s physical appearance or image and an excessive preoccupation with one’s own needs, often at the expense of others – Does this not remind us of social media such as “Facebook – Instagram, selfies etc. The net result is individuals, throughout the world despising God and refusing to place him at the top of their priorities. Accordingly, as the Bible declares – “the real and me” if the cap fits deserve to die or in the Christians sphere of activity repent.
The Antidote is the Power of the Gospel.
The Gospel in many respects is a scandal because it tells each and every man, woman, and child – whether “criminal”, “good,” religious or otherwise – that they must be born again – being themselves – outside of an encounter with Christ in their salvation is the pathway to destruction. The Bible in “John 3:3,” tells us that the unregenerate man who is “keeping it real” is keeping’ himself in constant threat of God’s wrath and only increasing his condemnation – “Romans 2:4-5” living like that only provides an eternal barrier to the kingdom of God.
Whether Gandhi, Stalin, Hitler, or Mussolini being the “true you” does not produce the righteousness that God requires. We all need another – you and me – the new us that only new birth can produce. Wonderfully, God’s righteousness is freely offered to us in Christ just read the terrific words found in “Philippians 3:8-11” and there we can see for ourselves. We all need to be new creations of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God and to live life right here and now as the – true identity that God has ordained for us. Jesus doesn’t say, “Just be the true you.” He says, “You must be born again” – “John 3:7”
Being Something Greater.
There is a new us available and it is far better for us than we could have imagined. We are not made to image the ideal versions of ourselves, that is simply like looking through a “shattered windscreen” No! we are made to reflect the image of God himself.
God ordained our salvation to make us look like his Son – just take a look at “Romans 8:29” if there is any doubt about it. Jesus died on the cross so that we can be born again and be the true selves he ordained us to be. He bore the wrath of his Father while we were “just being ourselves,” and sent the Holy Spirit to make us new creations in him. And the Spirit dwells inside of us who are born again to cause us to increasingly walk out who we already are in him.
So, “just be yourself” is only good advice when it means “be that person: the new you in Christ.” Paul says to us – “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” – “Ephesians 5:8” – In other words, Paul tells Christians to be who they are in Christ. We walk as children of light – not to become light, but because, by a work of our almighty God, we already are.
We live as new creations with new affections and joys because, by the Spirit’s regenerating work, we already are new creations “2 Corinthians 5:17” says to us “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges!” The Message
As new creations we do continue as “navel gazers” – folks too preoccupied, self-absorbed, or completely taken up by certain issues, to the point of ignoring everything around him/her. We do not gaze within and become more of what we see inside, but we gaze without seeing him – and to others who look like him – and, by the Spirit, mimic what we see.
- Don’t be yourself.
- Be something higher.
- Be who God predestined you to be.
- Be who you are in Jesus.
Here are some verses that in light of what has been said and perhaps we are considering would be well worth musing upon – “Ephesians 5:8, John 3:3, John 3:5, John 3:7, Philippians 3:17, Philippians 3:8, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 18:21, Romans 2:4, Romans 8:29”
Would You Like To Know God?
Starting With God
If today, as a result of what you have read you have decided to ask Jesus Christ into your life then congratulations, it’s great to know you have joined the family of God.
- If this were a religion, you could expect someone to give you all sorts of Rules. Rituals. Requirements. And maybe a lot of stuff to buy!
- But when you asked Jesus into your life, you did not join a religion. Instead, you began a relationship with God. And that’s pretty amazing.
- You might be wondering; how do you get to know God better? How do you get to know God personally? If that is true then don’t hesitate to contact us.
Bless you, in your new or continuing journey of faith.
Rev Albert M Martin