Our theme for this month: “The Gift of Being Yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Dear friend, do not imitate evil, but what is good.” 3 John 11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Be careful who and what you are influenced by.”
I want to end our study this month where we began it, by considering the influences that shape us. Perhaps you’ll remember our friend from the first devotional message in this series, the man decked out in “The Cleveland Look”. Red polo shirt tucked in, red and white plaid pants, white patent leather belt and shoes, dressed like no one else and evidently couldn’t care less. (I think also of my good friend Trevor, sporting a man-bun, taking lots of good-natured ribbing for it, but just laughing it off and going on his merry way. He seems to like his bun and he is unaffected by the heat he gets for it.)
Most of us spend too much time worrying about what others think, and too often we allow ourselves to be influenced by what others like and approve of. By seeking the approval of others, we effectively allow ourselves to be shaped by them. The Cleveland Look and man-buns are relatively unimportant issues, but people also allow themselves to be negatively influenced on much more important issues too, like issues of faith and morals and ethics. In these things we need to be influenced by God and by what He says in the Bible. This goes a long way towards determining the kind of person you are.
One of the reasons God gave us the Bible is to establish the boundaries we are to live within. The boundaries are wide and leave us lots of room for making choices and deciding for ourselves the things we like and don’t like. But there are boundaries, and we do have to stay within them.
In addition to well-established boundaries, the Bible is also filled with principles for living. These principles provide us with the guidance we need in order to have a Biblical worldview. We consider everything we see and hear in the world and we compare it to what the Bible says. The rightness or wrongness of anything is determined by how it compares to what God says in the Bible.
And finally, the Bible gives us models to follow. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Job, Jesus, Mary, Paul, and so many more. Their stories all have important things to teach us. In terms of conduct, it’s people like that who we should be learning from and copying.
I encourage you to be your best self, but make sure it is the self that God intends for you to be, then relax and enjoying simply being you.