Thursday, February 18, 2016

Be Yourself!

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” (1Cor. 6:11)

Much is written and said about the advisability of not trying to be like someone else; in other words, just be you. In general, this is good advice, since none of us is ever comfortable in someone else’s skin. The idea in many cases, however, is to eliminate any boundaries on our lives except the ones we choose; which can look more like personal anarchy than individualism. And in any case, the whole exercise falls apart if one doesn’t know who he or she is! Christians are not exempt from this kind of vague thinking, by the way.

For example, we’re sometimes guilty of looking at believers who are most conscientious about their Christian walk as being overly pious, or just not quite real; because real Christians have a hard time living for God and fall down spiritually…a lot. We are so quick to latch onto the second sentence in 1 John 2:1 (“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”), we hardly give lip service to the first one: (“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not”). God provided us with an Advocate because He knew we would sin, but not because He expects us to. This may come as a surprise to some of us, but sin is not normal for a Christian. We do it, but it is an aberration, an abnormality. And, when it happens, we’re not being who we really are.

Paul gives the Corinthian church a short list of sinful behavior in verses nine and ten of 1 Corinthians six, then begins verse eleven by saying, “And such were some of you.” The operative word here is were, not are. Not that everyone in the church was completely free from the mentioned sins; only that when it happened, it was abnormal behavior. It was not who they really were. If you and I allow sinful acts or thoughts to go unrestrained in our lives, under the guise that it’s just the way we are, we should know this: We are not being who we really are. What we really are is “washed…sanctified…justified.” Anything else is a deviation.

One thing on which I disagree with organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous is that people who haven’t had a drink for over twenty years are still forced to say, “I am an alcoholic.” Well, they were that when they joined! If they’re still what they were, what has changed? The answer will no doubt be, “They no longer drink.” To which I would reply, “Then they’re no longer alcoholics!” Get it?

On those days when I sin miserably, by God’s grace, I will confess my sin to Him and accept the forgiveness He has offered. Then, hopefully, I will remember who I really am and say to myself, “I just wasn’t myself today.” That might not be a bad thing for you to do, as well, my friend.

 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; and behold all things are become new”  - 2 Cor. 5:17.  (Or as I’ve heard it paraphrased: “If you is what you was, you ain’t!)

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