I am sure you have heard it said, “Be true to yourself.” Or “Just be yourself.” Or “Just listen to your heart.”
But is this really what God wants for us? I am not saying we need to find a verse that says, thou shalt be thyself, but can we find the principle in the Bible?
Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of doing something and the thought springs up, “I never thought I would be doing this. Not me.”
We even surprise ourselves sometimes, when we find ourselves in certain circumstances. We don’t even know who we are in all honesty. We may know who we want to be seen as and even how we see ourselves. The truth is, no. No, we don’t know who we are.
No, we are not told to follow our heart, nor to be ourself, or that ourselves is who we are to be true to. The good news is we are told Who knows us and if we get to know Them we get to know who we actually are.
So the question then becomes, who am I and how do I get to know me?
Genesis 27:19 “ And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau your first born….”
In the world we currently live in, we really can be anyone. Social platforms allow us to stage a life that is all roses and no rain. Make up allows us to be unblemished and hide the scars. Mobile devices help us to soak up distractions on demand. And we can be anyone we want to be, except who we actually are.
In Genesis we are told the story of Jacob. He knows what it is like to have no idea who we actually are. To get what he wanted, he was Esau. To himself, he was Jacob (meaning deciever) and many of us look at our own lives and see that we are a living lie.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: Who can know it?
I the LORD, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to is ways and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah 17:9&10
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you….”
I have found in my own experience, that I really could pull off seeming like anyone. I could put on any number of masks. But when I was by myself, I knew that all that was empty and pretense has a way of becoming a whole other me that even I wanted to run a way from. Behind academics, behind writing, behind ministry even. But I would always keep thoughts of reflection on the surface. Until I came face to face with God.
1 Kings 3:7-14
It was like being Solomon. To everyone else, I am king. I see myself as a child, not knowing how to come in or go out (shhh…. never let them know that). And God sees someone He can walk with if I only I choose to do so.
Psalms 139:1-5 – “O LORD, You have searched me, and known me….”
If you own a Toyota. No matter how bad you want for it to be a Mercedes (and you can even buy the emblem off someone), when that car has a problem, it will do no good to take it to the Mercedes dealership.
Likewise, we were created by God (believe it or not) and so when we want to know who we are, it makes no sense to go to the world to find out. We could get a good idea of who people think we are or what they want us to be but not who we actually are.
It makes no sense to turn to a drug or drink to tell us who we actually are. Because the mistake we often make is to think that a man is who they are when they remove all inhibitions. But a person is not one dimensional. We are not only made up of our instincts, we are also made with our reason.
Proverbs 25:28 – He whose spirit is uncontrolled is like an unwalled town which has been broken into.
“Many youth mistake strong, uncontrolled passion for strength of character; but the truth is that he who is mastered by his passions is a weak man. The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by his powers to subdue his feelings, not by the power of his feelings to subdue him.” – Child Guidance, pg. 161
So to say that you are who you really are when you are on some drug or drink that alters your reasoning ability is like inviting guests in when you have been robbed and saying “I guess this was my home all along.”
So who are you. I don’t know. And I am glad that I don’t.
Because I know God does know. But you have to go to Him and be honest with Him (not just with yourself). He will grow you to be you.
In a world where you can be anyone but you. Be you. Truly you.