Determining how much of "me" is appropriate as a Christian
“Just be yourself, no can ask any more of you than that.” This is such free and easy advice – someone has probably said it to you, and you have probably said it to someone else. But what does it mean? Is being yourself just reacting to whatever comes your way with a knee-jerk impulse? Does being yourself mean that your personal preferences and feelings should be stated and followed? Do each of us have different selves that we can be? And what about Christians? Are we even supposed to be ourselves? Is our call to Christ a “leave it all behind” call with sacrifice or a “take it with you and we’ll build on it” call? How do we better understand and apply our best selves to our Christian walk?
Perhaps answering this question should begin with a personal and probably uncomfortable question: Do you like the self you see when you visualize just “being yourself”? If we are really honest, I think most of us would look at that vision of “ourselves” and be unhappy – even a bit embarrassed. We are probably picturing the part of ourselves that is perhaps a bit lazy or moody. Maybe we are staring at a self that is short-tempered or careless. Maybe we are seeing a self that has done regrettable things. If this is the case then answering the question of just “being yourself” would seem easy. "No! I shouldn’t just be myself because that “self” is not a happy representation of what I would like to be or what I am striving to be."
Now let’s ask that same question with a twist. Do you like the self you see when you visualize what you think God sees when He is looking at what He knows you can be? Ah, when you look at this self you now probably see an entirely different person than in your previous vision. This self is strong in a faith that provokes action – it is helpful, kind and wise – full of scriptural principles and godly thinking. This self lives in forgiveness and gratitude and is blessed to know God through Christ. I’ll choose this self over that other self every time! So, what do we do now? We work on it.
The fact is, defining “being yourself” can easily become an exercise in futility. We sometimes end up defined by our circumstances, and other times we are defined by our perceptions. In these cases we settle for outside forces labeling the inside person. Still other times we are defined by our vision and discipline in the face of challenge and defeat. In these cases we reach down deep to our true core values to find our definition. Check out our May 21, 2018 podcast, “As a Christian, Should You Just “Be Yourself?” for some clarity. Find out not only how our brains go about defining us but also find out how the Scriptures go about defining us. Once you understand the ingredients, self definition takes on a whole new and exciting meaning!
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