I’m sure you have used the phrase “be yourself.” Perhaps a friend was headed out on a first date and he looks to you for last minute advice. Your advice: “Hey man, just be yourself.” When we tell someone “be yourself,” we are identifying positive characteristics that are demonstrated when someone confidently does what comes natural. In other words, be yourself because that’s a good thing when you do.
But what happens when being yourself is not a good thing. We all have a sinful nature that is not good. When we do what comes natural, we can make horrible decisions that have negative consequence. When we just act like ourselves, we often regret our attitude or behavior.
So what should we say? “Hey man, just be yourself in a way that only exhibits characteristics that this particular society and culture currently find positive.” No, that won't work. Instead, we should appeal to a higher standard of Truth? Perhaps we should stop telling people to be themselves and start telling people to be like Jesus!