By Herschel E. Patton
Is the above expressed desire and advice good or bad? It depends on what is meant. If the advice is to think and act independent of every wind that blows or persuasive influence rather than to be like a “reed shaken by the wind” or a bark “tossed about by wind and wave,” it is good. The Bible condemns this: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (Jas. 1:6).
But, if the advice, and desire, is to utterly disregard every consideration and influence except your own fleshly desires and appetites, it is bad. Both the Bible and experience teach that children or men “left to themselves” come to disaster (Prov. 29:15; Rom. 1:21-32).
The me of the advice and desire mentioned, and often expressed, is the person and life-style that one has found through personal experimentation to give pleasure or satisfaction. “Whatever gives you satisfaction or fulfillment and makes you happy,” we are told, is what you should be and do. This is “finding oneself” and discovering the real me! This is what is meant by these ear-tickling platitudes so frequently desired and advised. Thus, if one is “turned on” by sexual freedom without marriage, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, commune living, etc., if he finds fulfillment and satisfaction in such, he has found the real “me” and, we are told, he ought to be accepted by society because “That’s the way he is.”
The same philosophy is followed in selecting a church and being religious. “Me” is god. It is always “me,” “my,” “mine,” “how I feel,” “-what I think,” or “what I like” that inspires and activates the devotees of this philosophy. It is humanism, pure and simple. It is a philosophy that rejects God, man as a living soul answerable to his creator, the Bible as God’s divine revelation, and would discourage being influenced by parents, laws, church, school, or any segment of society.
The Worse Advice You Can Receive
“Be your own self,” according to this popular philosophy, is the worst and more destructive advice you could receive, and your fancied desire “to be me” is the most deceptive and damning desire you can have. Why? Because “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” (Rom. 8:13). “To be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:8). “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12).
If you will not accept this truth from Scripture, just look at history – the destruction of ancient Rome and numerous other nations that became humanistic, or look about you, at the unhappiness and disastrous end of thousands who followed a humanistic course.
Finding The Real “Me”
No one needs to set out to find “who I am – myself the real me.” This is not a hidden, concealed matter. God, your Creator, has shown who and what you are or should be. You are a human being, a living soul (Gen. 2:7), composed of body and spirit (Matt. 10:28), responsible for “glorifying God” here on earth and answerable to Him.
What you actually are (made yourself into) is clearly visible to others, as well as yourself, through your attitude and deeds. Maybe you are a selfish, pompous fool (Luke 12:16-20)! Maybe you are an ignorant, decieved worshipper (Matt. 7:21-23)! You can learn from the Bible (God’s mirror) what you really are and what you need to do. Neither society nor your own heart (mind) are true mirrors.
But, you say “I doubt the Bible!” Are you saying there is more logical evidence for human thought and feelings as authority for right and wrong, success and failure, than there is for Scripture?.I challenge anyone to find -a contradiction, an untruth, or a recommended course of action that results in destruction and ruin in Scripture: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9). “. . . the foolishness of God is`wiser than man; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).
What You Should Desire And Seek
Instead of wanting, to be “Me” or “Your own self,” you should desire to be ` od’s man or woman.” The apostle Paul is a good example. “I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
If that rich farmer of Luke 12 could have submerged “I” and “my” into “God’s will,” he would not have been a fool destined for eternal death. The prodigal son of Luke 13 left home in search of himself -the real me – through experimentation with riotous living. When he finally “came to himself,” he saw the “me” of riotous living; he did not like what he saw. He was in a pig pen, poorly clad, and hungry. In contrasting the “me” then with the one of former years, he realized that he had acted foolishly. He had set out to find what he already had in his father’s house – happiness, fullness, and satisfaction.
If you will deny and crucify self, sink your will into God’s will, and follow His leading carefully, you will like “yourself,” be liked by society, and, most of all, especially be loved by God. Living for self will never bring happiness; it will make you obnoxious to others, a stinch in the nostrils of God, and result in your denial and condemnation at the judgment for eternity. Quit trying to find “yourself” and “searching for me” and get busy making the present “you” into a man or woman of God.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 42, pp. 673-674
October 23, 1980