"Thy testimonies are very sure; holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever." - Psalm 93:5
Recently a friend of mine recommended that I follow a certain course of action in dealing with a potential adversary. The advice seemed reasonable, applicable and definitely understandable to anyone with full knowledge of the situation. I pondered my friend's recommendation, but could never quite bring myself to actually execute it. Later, when I explained my situation to another friend, he said to me: "I could certainly see that recommendation being followed by the one who recommended it; however, it really doesn't become you."
There is a definite wisdom and power in being true to one's authentic self. The noted Christian mystic Howard Thurman said that each of us should follow the grain in our own wood. Certain things reflect the true nature of who we are and other things are artificial, no matter how appropriate or appealing they may appear. Just as young David could not fight the Goliath in his life with the superimposed armor of Saul, we too cannot tackle the challenges of life with tactics that alienate us from ourselves.
According to the Psalmist, holiness becomes those of us who make up the household of God. Holiness is essentially the reflection of God's love in us, and as the temples of God we are called to be true to who we are. Anything other than love does not become us. Anything other than love does not fit who God has made us. Anything other than love is artificial and alien to the Spirit of God in us. 1 John 5:7-8 says it this way: "Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Service. Compassion. Justice. Mercy. Forgiveness. Restoration. Reconciliation. Patience. Steadfastness. Hope. Joy. Courage. Liberation. Friendship. Kindness. Honesty. These are all expressions of love. We look most like the sons and daughters of God that we are when we become these things. Any of these look like you?
Dear God, We love you for who you have made us. Now help us to become your love in a world that desperately needs to see who you are. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.