The empowering cultural message of today is “Be Yourself.”
And to be honest, that’s a pretty positive idea. Don’t try to fit yourself into the mold that everyone else is already in; be authentic and not fake; be uniquely you, in only the way you can be.
And in a world of unrealistically photoshopped models on magazines, pressure to be at the top, and an obsession with all the glitz and glamour of fame and riches, there’s a stark comparison of ideas we’re hearing: “Be the best,” and “Be yourself.”
“Be yourself” is generally much healthier of a message.
But it’s not where we can stop.
See, there are two sides to this issue.
The first? Don’t let anyone tell you who to be, or put pressure on you to be a pseudo-version of yourself.
But the second is toxic – don’t change who you are because only you know who you want to be.
Perhaps the word “toxic” is too harsh, but the point remains. If we think we’re all set with no room for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we mislead ourselves.
I know this verse is somewhat out of the context of the passage, but the truth remains:
1 John 1:8
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
By nature, we’re flawed, sinful humans. By simply embracing our selfish selves, we let sinful thoughts and actions reign over our existence. I’m not saying that we’re not saved, we’re just not going to mature and become more Christlike.
If being yourself means being snarky and self-centered, rude and “liberated” (aka do-whatever-you-want-without-limits), then no, you shouldn’t be yourself.
By gratifying the natural desires of the flesh, we decide that we know better. We make the decision to reject the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives and instead, indulge in attitudes and engagements that will end up hurting us later.
So where does that leave us? Is it good, or is it bad to embrace who we are?
It’s great to be yourself. In fact, if doing so helps you to maximize your life to grow in your faith and serve God, then by all means, go for it. We all have different personalities, appearances, passions, and dreams for a reason.
But if being yourself gives you the excuse to express yourself in ways that stunt your growth, give power to sin, or disregard the leading of the Holy Spirit, then stop.
Before listening to the so-called “empowering” message of embracing ourselves as we are, let us look above the noise and onto truth.
Will our actions lead us to God, or away from Him?
Will we be using them to serve Him, or just ourselves?
Will the glory go to us after all, or to God?
Does this help us to become the person God has for us to be?
In the end, these questions can only be answered by you. What are your intentions in embracing your inner self?
We can either use our lives to serve God, or serve ourselves – to scream about freedom in Christ or freedom in worldly living – to listen to the Holy Spirit or to listen to the Devil.
What will you choose today?
Today, I choose to think before instinctively being “myself.”