Be True to Yourself

Nothing annoys me more than someone fake.

I’d rather talk to a newly saved Christian who’s confused about why Jesus had to die on the cross than an educated theologian who tweets that “Jesus was a socialist.” The difference is that one of them is being honest, acknowledging their ignorance and seeking truth; the other is putting on a show to score political points. The theologian has no excuse. He knows better, yet still chooses to propagate a lie.

You see it every day. Maybe your dad has convinced himself that buying more gadgets will make him happy when you know he’s empty inside. Maybe your friend follows the latest trends and always seems to agree with whatever the news is saying. Maybe you’ve found yourself pressured by your peers, only to give in and conform to their preferences for the sake of feeling valued. It’s hard to resist. It’s hard to be true to yourself.

Isn’t That Sinful?

What complicates this further is that being true to oneself has gotten a bad rap in some Christian circles today. This is for good reason. When most modern media tells us to be true to ourselves, what they’re really saying is that we are the god of our own hedonistic pursuits. “Do what makes you happy! Live for you! Follow your heart!” This kind of thinking is purely selfish and runs counter to the truth of the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Luke 12:15 (ESV)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:30 (ESV)

But let’s leave pride and pleasure-seeking aside for now. Today, I want to talk about being true to yourself in the context of following Christ. I’m talking about vulnerable authenticity and self-reflection followed by diligent sanctification and accountability.

Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as being “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” But if we stopped there, we’d be left in our own selfishness, authentically sinful. We have to go further. Recognize and acknowledge who you are, but proceed then to bold action in living out your potential as God’s child, remaining vigilant to combat temptation and darkness within you.

My goal is to take this process and address it one step at a time. Bear with me. I know some of this might sound like self-help mumbo jumbo on the surface, but I’m convinced this is an essential part of maturing in your faith and identity as a genuine Christian.

Recognize the Real You

The first step is to recognize the real you—not what you present to your friends, not what your social media shows, and not who you wish you were. Just you. Confront yourself and really dig deep. Who are you? What fulfills you? What makes you cry? What do you daydream about? What tempts you to sin? What do you spend most of your free time doing? What do you believe about the nature of God, your purpose on this earth, and the purpose of those around you?

If you have friends you can trust, ask them what they observe about you. What would they say are your habits, values, or fears? What would they say are the things you talk most passionately about and the weaknesses you display?

Some people live their whole lives without ever answering these questions. It’s too easy to live on autopilot, pretending that what matters most is what you’re doing right now and what form of entertainment or frivolity is waiting around the corner. But life’s substance doesn’t consist of Marvel movies, mocha lattes, or Instagram. Life’s substance consists of real people, real choices, and real consequences. If you don’t take ownership of your life, you’ll quickly find yourself drifting in a sea of mediocrity, bereft of purpose or identity. Don’t let it happen. You have to nail it down. Who are you?

This isn’t to say you have to figure everything out all at once. In fact, most people will give up if they try to handle too much too quickly. Instead, just challenge yourself a little bit every day. It’s part of how we all grow up. But while most people avoid the big questions until they’re staring them in the face, I’d argue the better approach is to seek them out and deal with them head on.

Talk to Yourself

An easy way to do this is to answer those questions in a journal or other creative outlet. For me, I wrote poems. Boy, did I write poems. I would whip out my phone wherever I was and write down exactly how I felt, what I was struggling with, or who I was becoming. It was immensely helpful in figuring out who I really was and what demons I needed to wrestle. I didn’t care if it was embarrassing. I would write down my sins in all their ugly detail. I didn’t care if I was immature. I would write the most edgy stuff sometimes. I didn’t care if I had all the answers yet. I would frequently have dialogues with myself about things I wasn’t yet decided on, just to get a better grasp on the issue or situation. It was therapeutic. I highly recommend it.

Revealing these hidden parts of your identity and turning them inside out is a key step on the road to being true to yourself in a way that honors God more fully. Next week, we’ll talk about what it means to acknowledge who you are and really own up to it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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The Journey Begins

If you know me well enough, you might remember the blog I started back in 2011. It was called “As Iron Sharpens Iron” and featured posts about what God was teaching me at the time through the Bible and my own experiences. I loved working on it, but over time, I got pretty busy. I graduated college. I got married. I bought a house. I got a new job. A lot has happened, and somewhere along the way I stopped writing my blog.

God has answered so many prayers recently and set me on a new path in life, one that I’m genuinely enjoying. I’m excited for what’s in store. In light of this, I’ve decided that letting my writing muscles atrophy at such a pivotal time is unacceptable. Today I would like to introduce you to my new project: Veracity Quest. This website is an idea I had a long time ago. I wanted to create a space where I could talk about current issues in the world and put my passion for finding the heart of the matter to use in all aspects of life. Ultimately, I want to align myself with the truth. I believe truth is much like God. It is immovable and unchanging. It is not relative. It is certain. Can it be fully known? Of course not—at least, not in this life. But I want to know it as well as I can. I don’t want to settle for emotional arguments, limited anecdotes, or cowardly apologetics. I want the truth.

“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.”

Psalm 119:160 (ESV)

The only way to properly do this is with a commitment to God’s Word, prayer, and intellectual honesty. This is my goal. I aim to sharpen myself, much like the title of my previous blog, and become the man God wants me to be in this strange and wonderful time. I refuse to find an easy stereotype to fit myself into. I refuse to float around aimlessly and let life happen while I stay in a silent little box and cover my head from all the shrapnel flying around in the war for my soul. Most of all, I refuse to conform to the world like so many around me have.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

I guess that’s a good way to describe this site. It’s my attempt to continually renew my mind and speak the truth I’ve found to those who will listen. This is my testing ground for what is the will of God and how I can best follow it.

You can expect most of my posts here to be concise, direct, and addressing trending topics. I’m not pulling punches and I’m not shying away from difficult conversations. I would rather put myself out there fully and be hated by some than publish fluff pieces and be another voice for mediocrity. I invite your comments as we talk about these problems and try to solve them in a rational, biblical way. Having additional perspectives is invaluable.

I can’t promise anything right now, but I would love to eventually create YouTube videos to complement my written content. I’m also open to livestreams where we can interact in real time. But for now, these are only ideas. Posts are easier to be consistent with. “As Iron Sharpens Iron” will stay up for the time being. I might take it down or relocate it in the future. We’ll see. While I don’t think erasing my past is necessarily helpful, I do want to distinguish the new from the old and put my best work at the forefront.

Thanks for reading this. It means a lot. Whether you’re a fan of my previous work or a total stranger, welcome. I hope you’ll stick with me as I try to change the world and seek out truth, one rant at a time. Godspeed.

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”

Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

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