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”?
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves 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 boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (First John 2:15-17, NASB)
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?
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. (Ephesians 2:3)
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.)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (Second Corinthians 5:17 NASB)
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?
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:12-17 NASB)
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. 😊