The power of being yourself
People love having power in life and will do anything to get it. Many self-help books have been written on the ability to be powerful and successful. It could be power to advance in a job, power to clinch good business contracts, for some to overcome addiction for others the power to sell things, to be a good manger and so forth. People love being in charge and being able to create wealth and security for themselves so as not be at the mercy of others. There is something magical about looking good to the outside world! It is very hard to show your vulnerable self or let down your defenses. We live in a tough world, (in a sense), if you don’t look good you could lose a lot. It is very hard for people to admit their fears, troubles and weaknesses.
Ananias and Safira also wanted to look good in the book of Acts (Acts 5 : 1). Many newly converted Christians in 50 AD sold everything they had and gave their money to the church. They did it out of faith, but also, out of a yearning for the Kingdom of God which they thought was close. Annanias and Safira, convinced that it will be a very noble and “cool” thing to do at that stage, was tricked into doing the same with their land. They however, could not bear seeing their financial security going down the drain and decided to hold back some of the proceeds. They wanted to look good but did not totally and thoroughly gave themselves to this whole new way of life. They were not really in it but for some unknown reason could not admit it. Social pressure distorted their self-image and created a situation where they did not know who they were anymore. They wanted to be like the other Christians but could not really go all the way. That didn’t make them criminals, there is nothing wrong in being different you can be different to other people to your heart’s desire. The problem is when you fake your new look or status and not be honest about your fears and insecurities. If you pretend to be somebody that you are not, that is criminal! That could cost you your life.
Our world is probably less hard than the world of the people who lived 2000 years ago albeit more complicated! We have the information overload to handle. We can find huge amounts of information in magazines and over the internet about almost everything in the world. Much of this information is about other people’s lives. You can buy whole books which are dedicated to the lives of other people. Reading about their customs, their affinities, weak points, strengths and successes does something to your outlook on life. Even if you don’t buy any magazine or book about other people you will hear about them in every news bulletin. Not always good things and when incidents are let loose amongst a bunch of journalists you find many distorted and one sided stories and just as many opinions.
With all this information about other people it is very hard to find yourself. There are many things you can relate to in the lives of other people. You’ll find something familiar in almost all famous people’s lives. Even things that you are ashamed of, you find in others as well. The big problem now is that you could be inclined to be like one of them and not yourself. In hearing all these stories, seeing all these wonderful people, a personality, image or lifestyle might look very attractive to you. Together, all these things create a crooked and distorted self-evaluation.
Paul once said I am what I am (1 Cor 15 : 10), something God also said to Moses. Moses asked, who should I say to the people (after he was called to save Israel from Egypt), said all this. God said, tell them “I AM WHAT I AM” gave you the authority to lead them out of oppression!
The most powerful man is the authentic man. You are at your best when you are your genuine self! Rather be honest, be your own reliable, innermost person. If you can do that, it will make you powerful and strong!
Once a rich young man came to Jesus and asked about the way to heaven, the path to real salvation. Jesus told him to keep the commandments, do not commit adultery, do not steal, honour your parents etc. The young man answered that he had been doing exactly that since his childhood. Jesus then said, all you need is to sell everything you own and follow me. The young man got very depressed and went away because he was very rich. He could not be dishonest and tell Jesus he will think about it or pretend he would consider it. He plainly declined and walked away. The good thing about this story is that Jesus looked at this guy and loved him.
Nobody loves fake people not even Jesus!! Rather be yourself and be honest about it, only then can your authentic power and abilities be harvested and put to good use. Paul was a persecutor of Christians, he made it his life’s task to kill as many of them as possible, untill Jesus took hold of him. From then on he became the greatest evangelist of all times. If Paul was a fake and a fair-weather preacher he would be a nothing, powerless and weak! He stayed himself, feeling strong about things, being passionate, Jesus could work with him. His minus was turned into a plus because with God anything is possible! (Mark 10:27). Paul, persecutor of Christians, became the most important champion of Christianity. His passion and determination was put in the right direction by God’s grace!
Jesus loves genuine people even if they are a bit askew, with his godly power everything is possible. Who knows, maybe you could be the next Paul, Billy Graham, Bill Gates, Ghandi or whoever. There is just one important rule, be yourself, don’t try to be like someone else and never fake anything!!
Rasmus SE Erasmus
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