Why do people get so “caught up” in being “true” to themselves? I so often hear people criticize when someone chooses to make a change in their life/behavior. They often argue, you’re not being true to who you really are. Then they’ll pose the question: What if you still feel the same way or want to go back to what you used to do?
Then I thought about who we are in God. We are made in God’s image and likeness… God makes choices… we do too. God didn’t make us like the animals in that we are NOT ruled by instinct. Yes we have some natural instincts, but we ultimately have the uniqueness of an intelligence to choose to go with the instinct or to do whatever else we can think of.
We use the power of our intelligence in all kinds of ways. We decided that we should be able to fly. We decided that we should be able to communicate over thousands of miles. We decided that no matter what the environment is, we should harness it and make it conform and become liveable to our tastes. Man has great power and we do what we will with it. God noted this in Genesis when man was building the Tower of Babble… he basically said whatever we set our minds to do, we’ll eventually do it. (Gen 11:6 )
We exercise this same liberty in other areas of our lives. We choose to ingest things that we know aren’t good for our bodies. We indulge in activities that we know put us at risk for long-term health problems. We do all kinds of things that we know are contrary to our nature. I’m not going to even get into what’s good or bad but I want to focus on the fact that we constantly choose what we will do above our natural instinct.
So why is it that when someone chooses to “deny himself” we get so staunch on being “true to yourself”. Making it clear that to deny oneself isn’t to pretend or ignore the facts, but rather in light of these things being true or real to make a decision to do otherwise.
Most who’ll read this agree that Jesus is the Son of God come down to save mankind (short version). And just look what he did… (Phil. 2:6-7 Amp )
6Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
7But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
Jesus denied himself to choose to do what he felt was important. He became like me… so I could become like Him. So often, people say… “well you’re only human” as an excuse to just live ‘however you feel’ but I say to the contrary, because I’m human, I can choose to live the way God made possible for me to live through Jesus. So what if I have desires that aren’t like God… I’m going to choose to let Him transform those desires and allow myself to conform more to His image and likeness.
I believe that in making an intelligent decision to conform to what I know to be God’s will for my life I’m indeed honoring who I really am. That is I’m empowered with my choices to do more than my nature dictates. I’m honoring God by using my choice to become more like Him.
So what if I still feel the same way? So what!?! People who take anti-depressants don’t always feel “up” and just because someone in anger management class has an outburst, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t keep work on managing their anger. Let’s be real… just because air-planes crash doesn’t mean we stop flying… and obviously because certain sexual practices carry the risk of STD’s we haven’t stopped having sex!
Let’s move past this fatalistic and naturalistic limiting of who and what we can be. This isn’t a big statement of faith… it’s quite a small one. I’ll just believe it’s possible!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the wrold. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” – Original Author Uncertain, Quoted by Nelson Mandela
Thursday January 19, 2006 – 06:23pm (CST)