“Be true to yourself.”
Many times have I heard this quote used. It’s a popular one especially in Disney Channel Original Movies. It tells others to be just like their natural self in every circumstance and to never change who they are. It often goes alongside the “listen to your heart” motto.
I understand that it is mostly used in situations of others trying to be like the “popular” people, or others changing themselves to fit in with a group of people.
There is nothing wrong with telling children to not act like another person to fit in. I understand that advice. On the other hand, telling kids to be true to themselves can be just as damaging. Instead, we should be telling them to “Be true to Christ.”
Looking at Our True Nature
To understand my perspective on this, we must first ask ourselves a few questions.
Who is our true self? What are our natural characteristics? What were we born as? What behaviors are we naturally inclined towards? What is our nature?
When someone hurts or offends you, what is your first reaction? Anger? Hatred? Pride (“How dare they?”)? Self pity?
I personally respond with anger and pride. I first think, “How dare THEY say that to ME?” and then I grow angry and resentful towards them. I don’t instantly respond with love or sympathy towards them. My natural inclination is towards wrath and bitterness. In those moments, I am true to myself. I didn’t change my attitude to fit in with the popular crowd, but rather, I allowed myself to be angry. I let my natural emotions take over.
If you would look at an overview of Lizzie Bennett’s person, this is what would be outlined:
Her true self: An Unloving and Angry Girl
Natural Characteristics: Anger, Pride, and Bitterness
I am sure none of you would want me to be true to myself after looking at my character profile.
What would you rather me to be? Loving? Sympathetic? Forgiving? That certainly represents nothing of my own nature.
Finding Someone with a Pure Nature
Maybe I should change myself. I would be a much more enjoyable person to be around. I guess I do need a great role model in my life. But who would that be? I’m sure my mom’s nature is the same, so is my dad’s, your’s is too. I need someone whose nature is pure, righteous, and holy…
Hmmm…. who could that be?
Oooh! I know!
(You see where I am going with this?)
Jesus Christ is the only one who has the right to be true to Himself. His nature is of forgiveness, love, righteousness, holiness, and so many pure, sinless characteristics. He is never sinfully angry or wrathful. He never resorts to bitterness. His heart is that of a servant. He is quick to forgive and slow to anger.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.”
The world got part of the “Be True to Yourself” motto right. I shouldn’t look to other people in this world. They aren’t good role models and won’t help shape me into a loving and forgiving person. But I do need someone to set the example for me. Jesus Christ not only sets the example, but through His Holy Spirit, He helps us become like Him.
Leaning on Christ for a New Heart
We can’t look at Jesus Christ’s example and immediately turn into a loving and forgiving person. We first need to accept Him into our lives and admit our ugly nature. Then we need to surrender that ugly nature (and our whole lives) to Christ and let Him do the work for us
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
By letting the Holy Spirit guide and lead us through our life, we are surrendering our evil nature to Him and letting His beautiful nature take over our hearts.
Now, sometimes we get stubborn and choose to resort back to our old nature. But don’t be discouraged! Remember that He has a forgiving nature? We just have to come back to Him and tell Him we are sorry for temporarily turning away from Him. He will gladly accept us and continue changing our hearts and taking the lead in our lives.
So tell me, do you want to stay on the track of being true to yourself, or do you want to be true to Christ and let His nature flood your heart?
To remind yourself everyday of staying true to Christ, save this image and use as a wallpaper for your phone!