Learning to discover who and what you are is a lifelong journey, a journey fraught with dangerous side trails that will lead you to personal despair. Being who and what God sent you here for is more than reading a biography of some famous saint or gangster. It is learning the value of the positive characteristics of those who are admirable, inculcating those attributes of the inner person.
This journey also involves the necessity of casting off personality quirks of the many wonderful heroes we have observed or read about. As an aspiring writer, I really like the styles of Hemingway and Churchill. Yet I know enough to know each had problems that I have no desire to emulate. Churchill’s multi-volume, History of the English Speaking Peoples is great, yet I find no desire to shut myself into a large office with writing shelves lining each wall, standing, with a cigar, a glass of whiskey and write while stark naked! Nor do I desire, as did Hemingway, to give a passionate kiss to a shotgun!
As a Christian I have been appalled at not only the blatant imitation of so many talented people, who waste their God given abilities in exchange for what they think is the ‘secret’ to some icon’s success as a Christian leader. For several years preachers by the carload imitated a noted man, by constantly clearing their throat while unabashedly pretending to be that man instead of the man God made them to be. It is easier to imitate icons, than to lean on Jesus and seriously inquire of Him, who am I, and what am I? What is your will for me? A Greek/Stoic philosopher put it like this:
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus.
To follow Christ I do not have to or want to wear sandals, grow a beard or remain celibate. I do have to be born of God, which Jesus plainly told a leader of the Jews, Nicodemus. As a born again one, the same Spirit that brought again our Lord from the dead, leads me to grasp biblical truth and impresses upon all believers the way in which we should live. The ‘style’ of our life is one of courage, loyalty, kindness, giving, loving the unlovely, and forgiving those who trespass against us. All of the above are the fruit of what’s really going on inside our hearts and minds.
Keep in mind this rather simple, but all-encompassing statement from Jesus Christ:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Mt 12:35
Copyright © 2015 Larry Lilly
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