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Stop Being True to Yourself!

August 23, 2012

I just finished reading an article on a website that targets Christian church leaders. The article had to do with sexuality in general, and homosexuality in particular. I have an opinion on all of this; and I believe my opinion is based on the unchanging truth of God’s revealed word—the Bible. But that is not really what this post is about.

The author was making the case that the church should be more sympathetic to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender) perspective. He does make some good points. The church, in many cases, should have reached out to homosexuals with more of God’s grace and love and a less combative attitude. But the author uses a phrase that I have seen a number of times before. He refers to practicing homosexuals who also claim to be Christians as “individuals who were struggling to be true to God and themselves.”

It is impossible to be true to God and to yourself. This does not only apply to homosexuals. It applies to all people. We are sinners, all of us. If we are being true to ourselves, we are not being true to God. If we are being true to God, we are not being true to ourselves. This is just the way it is.

Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (NLT) Is this the “self” we are being called to be true to? I hope not! Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24, NLT) You really do have to choose who you will follow: yourself or God. You have to choose who will have dominion over your life: yourself or the Holy Spirit.

Every day, there is a battle. It is a battle for you. And it is a spiritual battle. Here is how the apostle Paul describes the battle and the results:

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:16-26, NLT)

When we are true to ourselves, the results are not pretty. In fact, neither we nor the world around us likes what we become. But when we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the results are beautiful. Both believers and unbelievers appreciate the sweet work of the Holy Spirit as he bears fruit in our lives.

The only way to be true to God is to sacrifice self. We have to nail the passions and desires of our deceitful, sinful nature to the cross of Christ. They have to die a painful, intentional death. Only then can we rise in freedom to follow the Holy Spirit and truly love others. Forget being true to yourself. It will only end up destroying you. Choose to die to self and be true to God.

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