Does changing who you are make you a fake?
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, SimonMatthew 13:54-57
andJudas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
The Bible says that a prophet isn’t welcome in his own hometown. Jesus was this way. Isn’t this Jesus from Nazareth, son of Joseph? We know his brothers and his sisters. Yada, yada, yada.
The problem was these people were too close. This son of a carpenter went off into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and came back with a new ministry. Now those who knew him didn’t put much stock in what he had to say, because they were too focused on the fact that this was the boy they knew, the boy they had watched grow.
When we make the decision to choose Christ as our Lord and Savior, we change. Our old life is behind us, and we begin to embrace the new. This can mean that
For me personally, I’ve struggled with this. If I’m being honest, I still struggle with this on some level. I was the swearing, negative, rebel who pretended not to care what others thought about me. Or, I wanted people to hear my crassness because, to me, it granted me a sense of power and confidence (that may have only been in my head).
But now I try to do what is right. I want to live as I am taught from the Scriptures, and that means being someone different. Not completely different, that’s not what God wants for me, but different in a way that starts to glorify him.
We hear in many worship songs that we are not who we once were. The old life has gone away. We’re supposed to shout it from the mountain tops that we are followers of Christ. It’s like a dance party; we celebrate the shedding of our old skin and the putting on of the new.
But at the same time, the devil starts to get inside of our heads. “Do you really think you’re better than everyone else?” “What makes you so special?” “Don’t forget how you used to be.” “You’re not fooling anyone.”
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who has these concerns. But I doubt it.
Think about Paul. He was someone with great zeal against the Christians. Someone had to vouch for him after he had his encounter with Christ and did a complete 180. The Christians were leery of him; they didn’t trust him, and who could blame them? This guy just killed how many of their people?
But Paul’s story continues. He takes his new mission just as seriously as his last, with just as much zeal (if not more). Paul places his life on the line countless times while sharing the Word, the Truth, the Way, and he is now considered one of the most prominent apostles.
We can’t let what others may think of us get in the way. We’re not supposed to look to them for approval. Our approval comes from God alone, and He will give it if we are that “good and faithful servant” Jesus talks about in Matthew 25.
What would have happened if Paul couldn’t find the support he received and decided not to carry out his ministry? Would we end up with an even smaller New Testament? Would someone else do it in his stead?
God chooses us, and when we turn our lives around by choosing Him, we have a choice to make. Will we hide our light, or will we shine as only He can make us? What we have to remember is that we’re not doing any of this for ourselves or even for others. We are walking this path, making these choices, to glorify Him.
Here are some ways that we can check if we are following God and not the world:
- Self-assess. Look at where you are, where you’ve come from. What are your thoughts and actions? Are they what God would consider pleasing and holy to Him?
- Look to those who know you and are walking the same path. Ask them if you have anything you need to work on in your walk (we always do). Are they concerned by your actions?
- Stay prayerful. Ask God if He approves of what you’re doing. The Holy Spirit, who lives inside of you, will let you know with those small stirrings.
If you find that you are doing what you should, rejoice in that fact. Let all other worries go. Who knows: maybe one day those who doubted will see the light and start walking their own God-given path.
Lord, please help me to walk Your path for You and not for anyone else. You know where I’ve been, and you know where I am now. Lord, it was only through You that I was able to take off the old and put on the new. Help me to remember this, Lord. Use me in to glorify Your Name. In Your most holy Name, I pray, Amen.