Number 1. - "Just be you!"
Have you ever been nervous about something . . . worried that someone won't like you or that something will go wrong, and a friend told you to "Just be you,"? I know I've said that to people, but as I think about it, this is NOT good advice.
First of all, when you're 'just being you,' and people don't like 'you' it brings frustration, rejection, and self-image problems. I mean if people don't like me just the way I am, then don't I have to change? Absolutely NOT! The problem with just being yourself, is that the real 'YOU' isn't a very nice person. Ouch. That statement hurts, but it's true. Our natural sinful personality is NOT something that people enjoy being around! The real 'YOU' in and of yourself, is a sinner. A selfish, proud, disobedient, lying, and rude individual!
We should never want to just be ourselves.
But if I can't just be me, then who should I be? 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" And in Philippians 1:21, Paul boldly declares that Christ is his life! Throughout Scripture, we can find example after example of men and women who put aside their own personal preferences, and served Christ. Do you think Stephen wanted to be stoned? Do you think he got up that morning and said, "I'm going to just be me today! I think I'll be stoned for it, but I'll do it anyways." NO! Stephen wasn't trying to promote his own personality. He was only concerned with glorifying God.
God gives each of us different and unique personalities, desires, hobbies, etc... but even though God gave us all differences, He doesn't want us using our differences to make us feel good. To make us live for us! Rather than 'just being you', God gives us the privilege of being able to yield ourselves to HIM, and the privilege of being able to, as Paul said, 'Keep under ourselves and bring ourselves into subjection, so that God can use us. It's not about being you, it's about letting Christ shine through us. When people look at you, do they see 'just you,' or do they see Christ shining through you?
Number 2. - "Follow Your Heart!"
WHAT!!?!?!?!?! Seriously? Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" So the Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful and wicked, and now we're supposed to follow it? According to the Bible, we're not supposed to be following our hearts, we're supposed to be following Christ.
The Bible doesn't just tell us to follow Christ instead of our heart, it gives us examples. Samson followed his heart and pursued Delilah and it resulted in his death. Jonah followed his heart and ran from Nineveh, and he ended up in the belly of a whale. Noah followed God's command to build an ark, even though it probably sounded crazy, even though it probably wasn't his life dream, and God blessed him for it. Peter, followed God's command to bring the gospel to the gentiles even though it wasn't what he had dreamed of doing with his life.
Consistently, throughout Scripture, when people follow their hearts without God's blessing, they have heartache, trouble, and pain. But when people follow God, and the things that He commands and asks of us, it brings a joy, peace, and satisfaction.
We all know that feelings lie. Jesus didn't 'feel like' being crucified, but because of His love for us, He ignored His feelings and did what He knew had to be done. With Christ as our example, we can ignore the lie of doing what makes us feel good, and instead, do what we know God wants us to do.
Number 3. - "Do what makes you feel good."
Number 4. - "If People Don't Like You, Forget About Them."If you've ever been insulted by someone. Deeply hurt so that you don't want to ever trust that person again? If you were to ask advice from most of the world, they would tell you that you need to just forget about the person that offended you. They can't be a real friend, so forget about them. Ignore them and forget the pain. If you don't ignore them, they'll hurt you again. But Jesus said "LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to them that hate you and PRAY FOR THEM that despite fully use you and persecute you." That doesn't sound like forgetting them. That doesn't sound like ignoring them. If someone doesn't like you, or hurts you, God requires us to respond with love. In Mathew 5:11-12 Jesus tells us that we're blessed when people treat us wrong. It's nothing new, they hated others who lived for Christ as well. As we follow Christ, we should expect some people to not like us, but rather than take it as a personal insult and be offended that they don't like our personality, we should love them back. We should show the love of Christ.
So how are you doing today? Are you living like Jesus would want you to, or are you following your own ways and the advice of the world?