To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. William Shakespeare
What does being true to one’s self look like? This often quoted line from Shakespeare is so accepted as wisdom that many people think it is Biblical. Seldom is it pondered upon. Being true to ones’ self means at the very least knowing what the core self is. If I am going to be true to myself, I must first know what that standard is so that I have a measuring stick to compare by.
The self — what is that? Who are you? The current “educated” elite whose god is science have written knowledgable papers and given TED talks on what makes up a person. They have delved into what defines consciousness, the chemical inner workings of the brain, the response of neurons to stimuli. Biologists have sliced and diced the human organism down to the microscopic cell components searching for more and more insight into what makes us tick. As the many branches of scientific inquiry look deeper in, astrophysicists look farther out looking for origins, or better yet, signs of life elsewhere in the universe. There are ongoing arguments throughout the scientific community about how even to define life. This seems to be akin to pulling the wings off a butterfly to see how it works.
Looking to science for answers to our question is therefore fruitless. The Bible, however, does declare with assurance just what life is and why there is life anyway. It is there we must look for answers to our questions of what is the true self. It is there where we find the purpose in life revealed. Yet, although that true purpose of life is revealed in Scripture for those who seek it, it has remained hidden from the eyes of many if not most people. Like the popular hidden objects games, the truth is in plain view, but sometimes almost impossible to find in the clutter that comes in from many directions. In our frustration we look for a ‘clue’ button which will highlight for us that truth we seek.
I encourage everyone to stop for a moment. Think, ponder, meditate on who you think you are. If I were to ask you face to face “How would you define your true self?” how would you answer that? Akin to that question is this: “Do you live an authentic life?” The authentic life is an outgrowth or expression of a person whose every action is true to their identity and purpose. In touch with the true self, the God-created and sustained self, everything from the inside out is authentic, balanced, in equilibrium, and peace. That sounds like a tall order, a pie in the sky quest. But I believe it is possible. It is definitely scriptural.
In some parts of Christendom there has been much preaching and teaching about “Identity.” Other parts of the Body of Christ have not considered the topic in any way. Whether taught or not, the result seems to be the same: No change in the people, no change in the way we maintain relationships, no change in moving in the power of the Spirit, no change in making a positive impact in the culture around us. Could it just be possible we are missing something?
A second popular topic is our purpose and destiny. Those who are seriously seeking for answers to that question gradually begin to glean a few truths such as: man is created to take dominion; man is created to glorify God; man is created to love God and enjoy him forever. I believe this is only a small gleam of truth coming through a crack in the door; it is not the full story. Even if man’s purpose is learned, his destiny clearly laid out, that does not mean he is automatically living a true, authentic life. Again, are we missing something here?
I encourage you to consider seriously the importance of pressing toward the goal of living life out of your authentic self, with a clearer understanding of your purpose, so that you will be surprised and satisfied, fulfilled and fruitful. The journey to that end may not be a smooth, straight line. There may be some hard work and even pain as you address some dearly held mind sets which have to go. You will be challenged to alter some of your behavior patterns and risk stepping into new ways. All of life, all of your life, is ultimately the outcome of choices previously made. You have the opportunity, if you are alive and reading this today, to choose to change toward all that is authentic. If you decide things are just fine, thank you, then expect no change in the peace and power levels of the life you live. But if you are not satisfied, it is time to move to a better way. As an old dictum has it: If you don’t want a Coke, stop putting money in the slot.