Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you
Back in October, I did my first wedding. It was for one of my former youth and her partner, a wonderful experience and humbled blessing to be a part of. It was an honor. Even though I received a gift just by doing the wedding, they surprised me with a present – a necklace with an inscription on each side: To Thine Own Self, Be True
This theme about “being true” has come up a lot lately – well for quite a while to be….truthful.
- The necklace
- A Jim Brickman concert, before he played his beautiful piece, If You Believe, he shared that growing up he was given the opportunity to develop the gift that God gave him in the piano and how he was encouraged to believe in himself
- The 19-year-old country star, Taylor Swift in a recent interview: “What matters is that I get to bed at night knowing that I was myself on that day.”
- A sermon I heard recently from a colleague in Richmond, Jim Somerville, “Is Anybody Looking?” One line from the sermon: “if I ever get to that place where I am more concerned about the way you look at me than the way God looks at me, then I would deserve whatever condemnation might come.”
I can give a list of others, but we will just stick with the past month.
Since we were little children, we struggled to be like others, to be accepted, to be recognized, to be a part of the “club”. Sometimes we struggled to be accepted by the family. We wanted to make our parents proud. We wanted our siblings to accept us and our pets to become our best friends. You would think that as we grew into adults, this concern would change but in many ways, it doesn’t. We have the measurements of social status, educational degrees, or the number of children you have. We allow our religious beliefs to dictate our measurements and the people we even want to associate with. We always strive to impress or keep up with the Joneses. Who are we trying to be true to?
What happens when we try to please, impress and measure up to everyone else? To their expectations? Don’t we lose sight of the truth? Who are we meant to be? Who are we supposed to be? Who are we supposed to please? According to Philippians, we are to stay true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, to the One we learned and received the most from – the God of peace.
What I am learning from these little messages couldn’t be clearer – be yourself. However, it sure can be hard work to make that happen. These two people I married last month were told time and time again that it was not supposed to be, they weren’t made to be together, and that’s just not right. They fought through it all and became strong and loving people of character, loyalty, and compassion. Most importantly, they found out who God meant for them to be – themselves, because that is who God made them to be. I couldn’t be happier for them.
To Thine Own Self Be True – When you are true to yourself, you are being True to God. After all, God worked awfully hard for us to be the people we were created to be. Don’t you think we should work a little for the One person it matters to most?