Be True

"to thine own self be true" tattoo1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

As you yourselves know, friends, our visit was no exercise in futility. In spite of having already suffered and of having endured the Philippians’ mistreatment, and in the face of stiff opposition, you know we were still brave enough to tell you the story of Jesus. So it’s clear that we’re not being deceptive, or underhanded, or trying to trick you.

But, upon examination, we have God’s seal of approval to share this message, and we do it regardless of whether people approve; we do it to be true to what God has put in our hearts. You know, and God knows, that we never used flattery, we never used the message to our own advantage, and we never asked for your praise or anyone else’s. We could have used our apostolic titles to demand special treatment, but we treated you like a nursing mother with her baby: tenderly. We cherish you so much that we’re determined to share not just the message but everything we’ve got with you.

You can agree or disagree with Paul, but the conviction with which he carried out his mission is out of the question. Paul will tell the story of Jesus:

  • No matter what anyone else thinks
  • No matter if he’s accused of doing it for his own advantage
  • No matter if people insult him for it
  • No matter if he is mistreated for it
  • No matter whether people receive it or not

You can disagree with his theology. You can take exception to his eschatology. You can berate him for his words that will someday be used to subjugate women, defend slavery, and condemn homosexuals.

But he does what he does “to be true to what God has put in our hearts.” And his example in that is worth repeating.

Consider: What is in your heart. What is it about you, that without that you wouldn’t be you. What is it that is yours alone in the world to do. And do that.

Be true to that:

  • No matter what anyone else thinks
  • No matter if you’re accused of doing it for your own advantage
  • No matter if people insult you for it
  • No matter if you are mistreated for it
  • No matter whether people receive it or not

In the end, you are responsible to God alone for being that expression of God in the world – for being the piece of the world that would be lacking without your being true.

2 thoughts on “Be True”

  1. Sad that so many suicide bombers do exactly that. And sad that, like them, Paul believes whole-heartedly in subjugating women, slaves, and homosexuals because “God put it on his heart.” So im not sure how we can conclude that doing what we believe God tells us to do is necessarily a good thing, worthy of repeating. Lots of people believe some pretty messed up stuff. Humanity must find a much better compass than that. Making decisions based on listening to one’s heart is no better than flipping coins as far as what pleases God goes.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, lots of people follow their hearts to some crazy (and sometimes destructive) things. So the big question is, how do you determine the validity of what’s in your heart before you commit to carrying it out? That question takes a lot more examination. Certainly more than the bald assertion alone that “God told me so,” or “I just feel like it this morning.” And, in general, I’d say Jesus is a much more reliable guide about those things than Paul or the suicide bombers.

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