How many times during our lives have we been told that? (Yes, it appears that the ‘Follow Your Heart – or Be True To Your Heart?‘ rant has a sequel now… XD) At first, this seems like a general statement giving us permission to do what we want and feel no need to apologize for it. But what does it really mean to “Be yourself”?
1st John 2:15 – 17: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.
Many times, myself included, “being yourself” meant loving things that are of the world, not of God. It meant, “Nothing else matters, only what makes me happy.” And what is it that we think makes us happy? These worldly things? So, I asked, who exactly is this “self” that we are being told to be?
Ephesians:2:3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Children of Wrath?! I don’t want to be a child of wrath! (The Strong’s dictionary shows that “wrath” can be translated as “desire” or “violent passion”. I don’t want to be a child of any of those.)
2nd Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Through Christ, we can be new creatures! We don’t have to “be ourselves” –why would we want to be, when we can become new in Christ?
Romans 8:12 – 17: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Children of God! That sounds much better than being children of wrath. So in the end, I suppose this “yourself” that people are telling us to be really depends on which “self” it is – the old self, or the new self in Christ.