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Just be yourself!

Sometimes I wished I could just snap my fingers and suddenly not care what people thought about me.

When I was in middle school and high school, people always gave me the advice, “just be yourself. You don’t have to worry about what people think of you; just be yourself and everything will be fine.”

That sounded so great, and sometimes I wished I could just snap my fingers and suddenly not care what all my peers, and other prominent people in my life, thought about me, not to mention being so easily influenced by them. But, of course, it didn’t happen like that.

You cannot serve two masters

The truth is that I need to make a firm decision about whom I want to serve. And I cannot actually serve both God and people!

So maybe I’m with a couple friends and the conversation turns to backbiting or just general negativity … I know what God wants me to choose: to only saying encouraging words about the others and to be thankful for everything. Am I going to choose to serve Him or just “go along with the crowd” because it’s “not that big of a deal?” It is clear from situations like these that it is true that you can’t serve God and people, it’s just not possible.

Sometimes, these decisions to break free from serving people can be very hard. This is especially true when it involves people who have been very close to me, maybe even relatives whom I love very much. Jesus actually said in connection with this, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemiesMost often when a Christian refers to his or her “enemies” they are speaking about the sin in their flesh and the temptations and lusts that arise from there. These are enemies because they tempt us to act contrary to the will of God. These can also be spiritual powers such as the spirit of the times which oppose the... More will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:34-37.

No tolerance for sin

Jesus had a vengeance and hatred against sinSin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden. This... More. So when He said, “I came to bring a sword,” He meant that He had no tolerance for sin in His life – even if the influences were coming from His closest relatives and friends.

When I think about what that means for me, it is clear that if I am to please and serve God, I also need this “zero tolerance for sin policy” in my life. I can’t choose to join in on conversations that involve backbiting, negativity, impurity or gossip, or agree with sin just because my closest friends are telling me that it’s fine and there’s nothing wrong with it. Instead, people need to sense that there is a “sword” against all sin in my own life. I don’t agree with it, and I refuse to give in to it! It can hurt deeply when I have to sacrifice earthlyRefers to everything of this earth, as opposed to heavenly things. Example: Earthly treasures/heavenly treasures. The earthly things pass away (are temporal), but the heavenly things are eternal. (Matthew 6:19-21; Colossians 3:2; 1 John 2:17)... More relationships in order to keep myself pure. But I need to make a firm decision as to whom I am going to serve, because it is a matter of “either-or.”

No magic solution

Of course, when I have a deep love and care for close friends and relatives who have chosen other paths, I really want to see it go well with them. Then I can take Paul’s advice to Timothy to “take heed to yourself and the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16. I can also show them goodness and love, and pray that God will speak to them and help them to choose to serve Him.

Now that I look back, I wish I had understood that the age-old advice: “Just be yourself” is synonymous with, “Don’t be so easily influenced by people.” No, you can’t magically snap your fingers and be free from caring what others think, but you can make a firm decision to serve God alone and only be pleasing to Him. And once you do, all power and help are available for you to continue to always choose the good. So, if you’re at a moment of decision in your life, pray that God will strengthen you to be firm and decided, to only choose the good, and to live a conscious life for Him alone. God promised that it will go well, and when we believe this, we understand that, although things will not be magically different, we will have all strength and power to fightAlmost all talk of battles and wars when concerning a Christian life refers to the inner battle that arises when a sinful thought tempts you. God’s Spirit and the flesh are at odds. When you have decided to only do God’s will and are being led by the Spirit, a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit arises: there is... More the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12), and to be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Key teachings

Explore how God’s Word challenges and empowers us to live 100% according to His will, so we no longer need to fall in sin, but can come to a life of victory.

I am crucified with Christ
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I Am Crucified With Christ

This booklet is based on Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with ChristJesus was physically crucified on the cross at Calvary. Though blameless, He took upon Himself the punishment for sin, which was death, so He could pay our debts and forgive us our sin if we are willing to believe in Him and follow Him the Apostle Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ…” (Galatians 2:20) This is a metaphorical... More; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me …” Here Elias Aslaksen explains what this means and how the reader can have the same testimony as Paul in their own life.

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