Episode 3-4: How to Find Your Authentic Self

Episode 4 February 09, 2022 00:32:57
Episode 3-4: How to Find Your Authentic Self
Thinking Christian
Episode 3-4: How to Find Your Authentic Self

Feb 09 2022 | 00:32:57

/

Show Notes

It’s a top priority in our culture: Finding your authentic self. Could it be, though, that we’ll find that better through finding an authentic view of God?

This episode recorded from a sermon given at The River Church in Liberty Township, Ohio, on January 23, 2022. You can view it on video here.

Visit https://www.thinkingchristian.net for a free chapter download of the book many say is giving them surprising, yet faithful new insights into Jesus Christ. I mentioned it in the podcast: Too Good to Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality. You can get your preview, a chapter that will astonish you on the greatness of Jesus’ love, by visiting thinkingchristian.net.

 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Great nation that I was with campus crusade for Christ for 34 years. There was a point several years ago when I had a new boss and he didn't know me very well. And he put me in charge of planning a conference. Boy, was that a mistake? I was bad at it. I was supposed to figure out the location, the registration, uh, checking in all that kind of stuff and a plan. And I just couldn't. I was bad, never been bad at something. And it wasn't just, everybody could see that I wasn't doing good, but my wife in particular, she saw me sinking into this depression because not only was I bad, I didn't want to be doing this. This just wasn't me. Well, Chuck saw that to my boss and he said, Tom, we need to have a talk. We're going to have a meeting this evening. Speaker 0 00:00:55 And I said to Sarah, I am about to get fired. Well, it turned out Chuck was a better boss than that. He, he said to me, Tom, I can see you're not doing well on that. Well, everybody could see it. I'm going to put someone else in charge of the conference. I've got another project that fits you better. It suits you better. I'm getting to know you. I've got something else for you to do, and you don't have to worry about the conference anymore. I'll tell you that was the fastest miracle healing from depression you ever saw in your life. It was so good. It was so much better. And what was going on there was I was in that one job trying to do something that wasn't right for me, it wasn't me. It wasn't who I was. It wasn't the kind of person that I want to be. Speaker 0 00:01:44 And I know that you who are here, you are online, that this is it's important to, to discover who you are and to be who you are and to be the right kind of person. But you have to find it in the right place and with the right priorities. And where do you find it? I'm going to guess that since we're here in church, you're going to say I find it in the Bible. I find it in my relationship with God. I find it in my relationship with the community. And if that's true, if you that's great, but you are pushing against headwinds. If that's true of you, you are pushing against that strong cultural current that finds the, the real you, the authentic self somewhere else entirely. And some of us probably in this room need to change course and find the authentic self in the right place and others of us. Speaker 0 00:02:44 Well, we are already looking for it in the right place. And I hope for you. I reinforce the strength that we need to push against these cultural currents. So I'm going to look at this search for the authentic self in three ways. Firstly, at three angles, one is I'm going to talk about how we get it wrong on our own. And I'm going to spend a fair amount of time on this because this is so pervasive in our culture. It is so pervasive. It's hard to see it. You don't see like it's the proverbial fish in the water. I want to help us see it for what it is. You can't correct an error very easily if you don't recognize it. So we're going to spend a fair amount of time on that. And then in the second part, I'm going to talk about how we can get it wrong. Speaker 0 00:03:29 Even with relation to God, we're going to open up the scriptures here, not so much in the first part, but here then we're going to talk about how this inward search for the authentic self puts us in a position of battling against God. And then third, the last and actually shortest part. We're going to talk about how we can get it right with God, because it really is a true self and authentic self. Then we ought to be pursuing, but we have to do it in a right way and with the right priority. So let's start in talking about how we get it wrong on our own. And the easiest way to do that, I would say would be to take a look at Disney movies. You've been to Disney movies lately. Boy, it's been going on for awhile. You know what? The theme of every Disney movie seems to be now it's the hero or the hero in has been put in a position of not being who they're meant to be. Speaker 0 00:04:29 Their family is pushing them to be something other than, than they are or the, or the society is or some other expectations. And they have to discover who they really are and live their life. And so you'll hear phrases in, in these movies like, uh, you must not let anyone define your limits. Your only limit is your soul. That might've been Dreamworks, but same deal. You'll hear. Uh, th th um, you have to look inside yourself or you'll hear the princess of a frozen land singing. Let it go, let it go. Can't hold it back anymore. It's time to see what I can do to test the limits and breakthrough. No, right? No wrong, no rules for me. I'm free. Let it go. Let it go. I am one with the wind and the sky. She is breaking. She's setting aside the rules and it's all about I'm free and letting it go, no, right, no wrong, no rules for me. Speaker 0 00:05:35 A lot of that movie was about her discovering her authentic self, but where did she find it toward the end? She kind of got maybe some, some better perspective, but she was looking inside. And isn't that the case for a lot of what we see in culture, if you want to read them a really good book on it, Carl Truman wrote an incredibly good book on it, called the rise and triumph of the modern self. And if you want to get a grip on what's going on in culture, there is nothing better than that one right now. There's maybe some others in different ways, but this one is so insightful. And he talks about expressive individualism. The individualism part is that I am who I am and it's about me. And I need to express who I am. It's, it's what I'm supposed to do. That's the way you live life in this world is that you express yourself as an individual. Speaker 0 00:06:42 And I heard a great podcast on it that really brought it home to me. Actually, I've listened to it several times because it hit me so hard. There's a high school teacher named Richard Bordner who was talking with Greg Cocal. I'll tell you where to find this. Later on there, they were talking about rich Bordner's experiences as a high school teacher. And he had a lot of different experiences. He started out teaching in content, California, which means the inner city, Los Angeles, if you've ever been out that way. And then from there, he went to mission Viejo, which is wealthy, suburban orange county, California. Then he moved to Dallas, north Dallas, the suburbs there. And he said, he's seen this everywhere. And what he said was that everywhere he goes, students take it as axiomatic. Axiomatic means that it's just a fact of life. It's a reality. Speaker 0 00:07:36 You can't question it. It's just the way things are. And you don't need to argue about it. You don't need to justify it. It's just reality. They take it as axiomatic. That the I, the idea, rather than I am my own, I defined myself period. Full stop. Nothing else defines you, but you expressive individualism. I am. And he's quoting someone else here named Alan Jacobs. I am a commodity, wholly owned and operated by myself in service to my interests as defined by me a Bordner says it's about autonomy, meaning and purpose and everything like that. You find by looking inward and nowhere else not by looking upward, not by looking around, they define, and he's talking about high school students. They define meaning for themselves. And that is it. And don't think that he was just talking about the secular crowd. He was talking, he's a committed Christian. He's been around the block in church. He's talking about Christian kids and not just any Christian kid, but the ones who are leading the youth groups. So it, this is probably something that's present in the river church too. Speaker 0 00:08:55 Unless you think that Bordner, or I am harping on the teens. He wasn't, I'm not, we, he, and I both know if they learned it. They learned it from somewhere. It was us. This is not something that this generation invented out of. Nothing. It came from somewhere and it came from previous generations. This is culture wide. There is a whole lot of this expressive individualism. It's about be who you are or you be, you. You seen this in commercials. You do you. It's up to me to determine my truth. My morality, you can't impose that on me. Who are you to impose your morality on me? I've got my morality. Or how about this one? My body, my choice. Now this isn't a talk about abortion. It's about something actually, that goes deeper than that because Bordner talked about this. I've seen it. You've probably seen this too. Speaker 0 00:10:04 The person who says, I believe abortion is killing a human baby, but no law should interfere with a woman's right to choose. Abortion is killing a living human being, but no wash and interfere with a woman's right to choose to see what's going on here. There are two moral values in competition. There is the moral value of life with regard to a human baby. And by the way, if you, if you're not sure that that's, what's inside the womb, that we're talking about, someone who does think that it is a living human being. Okay? So this person is saying, I believe is killing a living human being, but I wouldn't interfere with a woman's right to choose. We got two moral values in which one's more important. It is the woman's autonomy is more important than the moral value of in this person's mind murder. Speaker 0 00:10:59 It's better to murder than to interfere with a person's authentic self. That's what that means, right? Is this a problem I'm going to get to the scriptures, but I want us to see the problem for what it is. It reaches its peak. I think with the whole issue of identifying, as I seen people identifying as animals, I've seen people identifying as robots, obviously. Um, oh, I've also seen Christian saying, I identify as a Christian as if it's just kind of something you put on. It's not through and through the truth of you in relation to God, but yeah. Yeah. There's also the transgender movement where identify as it comes through with them, most power in our culture. But the problem there, I don't think it's mostly about gender. I really don't. The gender issue certainly complicates it in a lot of ways. One of which is the activism that's around it. Speaker 0 00:12:03 One of which is the actual gender incongruity, which by the way, is painful and difficult and solutions are really hard to come by for it. I had a cousin named Garth who transitioned from man to woman decades ago, long before there was any social acceptability to it. And it was hard and it was painful. And he went through a lot of pain and he died. The, we don't know why, how, or what it was, but the theory is it was drugs. So this is, this is hard stuff, but it's not just about gender. It's there, there is. We have to care. We have to empathize. We need to show love, but I cannot leave a yet a third complication, which is that when, when people change gender identity for them, it's a change in reality. And it's, it's not reality. Isn't what's on the outside reality. So it's in their heads. This is reality now. And it's not just their reality. It's your reality. Because if you call them by the wrong pronoun, you're not just being intolerant. You're not just being rude. You're seeing them wrong. You're seeing the wrong reality. Speaker 0 00:13:18 They're changing reality. What happens when they run into someone else who has a different reality, though? What we're setting up here, when you change reality for yourself and someone else, you know what that is? That's a God move small G God, God, himself, the real God. And the small G gods that's who determines what's real, right? That's who determines what's right. That's, that's where our reality comes from is from God or from God, depending on your beliefs. And we're acting like gods. And we think we can change reality that way. And when they, and then when, when someone disagrees, who decides who's right, you got one small God against another. And you know what? When the gods do battle, it doesn't come out pretty, you know, your, your old Greek mythology, when they did that or your Marvel movies, it doesn't come out ready in the old Greek mythology, the gods, they just did battle on one of them wanted one thing. Speaker 0 00:14:28 One of them wanted another thing and they went head to head and somebody always came out, hurt in the Marvel movies. We've got superheroes who are good, but they're not the ones who just get it from within. They're the ones who know of a higher purpose, a higher meaning, a higher value. You don't root for the superhero. Who's just bringing it out from inside. You root for the one who knows there's something better on higher than himself. But this expressive individualism is living as if we're all gods and we are not gods. There is a God in heaven. And with this expressive individualism, we're getting it wrong with him. We get it so wrong that I think we need to hit a reset button. We need to remember who God really is. So we can give up trying to be gods ourselves. Speaker 0 00:15:26 That is the problem. And as I said, I spent a long time on it because it is so pervasive. We're not even going to recognize it very clearly unless we have it brought fully to our attention. So what do we do about it? Well, we don't want to get it wrong with God. We do. Unfortunately. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about who God really is. If we think we can be God's, let's talk about who really is. And there's so many things you could say about this. My goodness. There's so many things I'm going to talk about. God is creator. Couple of passages, John, one, one through four is one. It says here, talking about Jesus in the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Speaker 0 00:16:19 And without him was not made, anything made that was made in him was life. And the life was the light of men. Nothing exists except for what God made. Nothing. There's nothing. There's nothing here that he didn't make. You knew that, right? Of course. But we're going to reflect on that a little bit more. I want to turn again to another passage in Colassians. This too is talking about Jesus. Let's Colossians one 15 through 18. It says, Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn, meaning the preeminent. One of all creation for, by him. All things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether Thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things and in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body of the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in everything, he might be preeminent. You don't want to set up a throne for yourself. He's in charge of that. All things were created through him. Speaker 0 00:17:38 There's so much we could say about creation. You could imagine. No, you couldn't try to imagine being in a position of God before creation you. The first thing you have to do, you could try this and then laugh at yourself. Okay? First thing you have to do is imagine being alone, you're going to get it wrong. I promise. You're going to imagine you're alone. Somewhere on the earth or floating in space. God was not alone in space. He hadn't created space yet God, in Ephesians that says Jesus was the fullness that fills all in all will be for creation. God was all in all. There was nothing, but God. And then he, and then he created something and it was different from himself. And it was so new when he said, let there be light. He wasn't copying from light from somewhere. If you're gonna imagine you're creating something, you're going to copy from what God's already done. Speaker 0 00:18:36 He did it from his own creativity. I think of myself as being a creative person. But how many variations on the theme of maple leaf has God run? How many variations on the theme of human being has God run. He is so incredibly creative. And then you think of his power. And now here, here's where you can do. I'd love to have you do this. If the weather's right next to the next night, the weather's right? Uh, not while it's snowing. I want you to go out in your backyard or your front yard and look up on the sky list Southwest. But that angle eight 30 or nine o'clock at night. Okay. And the, the constellation, the easiest constellation in the whole sky to identify, uh, Ryan, the constellation of Ryan will be up there. Okay. And, uh, Ryan has one star in it. That's pretty special. Speaker 0 00:19:31 It's in his shoulder. Uh, Ryan is the hunter. And so you can see his shoulders and his legs and his belt and his right shoulder is a star. That is noticeably. You can see this from your yard with no, no optical help or anything. One of the stars is red, more red than the others is called. I'm sorry. Beetle juice. I love that somebody else did too and made a movie about it. Uh, beetle juice is a red giant star. And by red giant, I mean it's, oh my God, it looks so small up there. It's just, this thing is pinprick. This star, isn't such a small star. This star is so big. You could fit 700 million of our sons inside of it. You have to squish them around. You know, packing spheres is hard, but you could fit 80 million earths inside the sun. So you could fit 55 billion earths inside that star. This star is so big that, you know, we've got our sun in the solar system. We've got mercury orbiting it. Beetle juice is bigger than that orbit. You got Venus, let's start as bigger than that orbit. We've got the earth next. Speaker 0 00:20:53 Not done yet. We've got Mars. The fourth planet from the sun. That star is bigger than the orbit of Mars. And it's so small if you and I are going to do battle against God, where we set ourselves up as gods, we're doing battle against someone who can make us star that big and put it so far away that it looks that small. And he did it all over billions and billions and hundreds of billions. You want me to do battle with that? God, we need to remember who God really is. We're not used to talking about battles with God. We're more accustomed to are John 15, 15. I love this first. Jesus says I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead. I've called you friends for everything that I learned from my father. I've made known to you. It's the worship course because I am a friend of God. I'm a friend of God. I'm a friend of God. He calls me friend. And I love that. It's so good. And yet how many of us know that before John 15, 15, there's a John 15, 14. You know what that verse says? Speaker 0 00:22:20 Jesus says, you are my friends. If you do what I command you. I have friends here in the river church. If I said, you can be my friends. If you do, if what I command you, I would not have friends here in church. That's not how you make friends. Right? But Jesus could because he had the authority, the power, the moral character and the, and the right position to do it. But he is, yes, we are the friend of God, but this is no friendship appears. He is the friend in charge. He is absolutely in charge. He is God, we are not. And by the way, those passages that I read about the creation that was about Jesus. That's why I read from there. Instead of from the Genesis account was to point out that the same Jesus who said that this, this is the one who created everything. Speaker 0 00:23:15 And my goodness, that is, do you want to do battle with God? Really? I grew up as the small kid on the block and I did not want to make an enemy of the big kid on a block. Cause I'd get beat up. And my goodness, God has a bigger kid on a much bigger block. He's not a kid at all. I don't want to do battle with God. But when we set ourselves up as the ones who define our truth or define our reality, we're, we're playing God and we're doing battle with, he has the power. He has the authority, he has the character. Speaker 0 00:23:54 So I would say if there's one court thing, defining our confusion today and all this search for the authentic self it's that we've forgotten what the word God means. This is his reality, not ours. It's all his reality. He gets to rule it, all of it. And that includes the part of reality. That's you and me? Thank God. He's a good ruler. And we can trust him. He created us. He knows us. He loves us. So why can't we trust him? What's this just starting to begin about, uh, you know, transition to how you can get in touch with your authentic self in a right relationship with God. It starts with recognizing who God is and who God isn't us. And that he has the wisdom and the power and the moral authority so that we can trust him with ourselves. He created us. He knew what he was doing. And if we go with his design for us, we're going with a good design. And he also sets the example, by the way, of what an authentic life should look like. John 1225, he says, whoever loves his life, loses it. And whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If you're looking for your authentic self within yourself, that's, that's loving your life and that's going to end up with you losing it. And that's very dangerous, very dangerous. You don't want to be there. Speaker 0 00:25:32 So what do we do? We have to recognize the nature of the battle that we're trying to be small gods or that people are pushing us to try to it doing battle against the true and infinite and holy and powerful real God. And there's only one way to win. There's only one way to win. It's his way, which brings me to part three, which is like I said, the shortest, the most important, probably the hardest part of this message for me, because I have a list of things and I don't want it to come across as a formula because I'm afraid it'll leave out the heart. I've been a Christian for 47 years and a couple of weeks. It was January of 1975. When I accepted Christ and it following God, submitting to him, finding myself in him is good. It's really good. It's just, he is good. Speaker 0 00:26:32 And he's good in ways that you don't just, it's not just theory. I mean, it's a real good life. You gain a lot by giving up your life for him. And the more I let him be in charge, the more satisfied I am, the more confident that I'm on the right path and the person that I meant to be. So I want to convey that heart and I'm afraid it won't come through, but I'm going to suggest those four steps. Anyway, the first one is to give up the battle, just give it up. Second one is be reconciled with him. Third is follow his example and the fourth, it's not a step. It's a result. You will find your authentic self in him. Give up the battle. He is God stop acting as if you are stop, just resist the pressure. If it's pressure coming from outside, you make yourself an enemy of God. Speaker 0 00:27:30 Romans eight, six through eight says, uh, here it is to set the mind on the flesh is death. But to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace. You see the contrast and you set it on a selfie it's death, but there's a better way. Life and peace for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God for it does not submit to God's law. Indeed. It cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. So where's our hope. We are enemies of God. Well, there is hope because just before that, shortly before that Romans chapter five read verses eight and 10, and he says, God shows his love toward us. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us while we were still enemies. Even because for if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more. Now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life? Speaker 0 00:28:40 Reconciled saved no longer enemies. And it comes from trusting him, trusting him that he's good enough to do the right thing for us, trusting him that he's on that he's taking us on the right path, trusting him by saying, I'm going to give up, trying to be God. I'm going to let you be God. You can be God in my life. I don't have to be. And if you do this, if you trust him, if you give up the battle, if you give up on this, uh, and then if you follow his example, he had all power in all thorny. He, he had absolute self knowledge. He knew his authentic self. And yet he said, even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom. For many, his authentic self was a self of giving. That's the model. Speaker 1 00:29:40 That's the one we find, follow him, find God, pursue him. Look for him with all your heart. My book that's out there too. Good to be false. That was my investigation into the character of Jesus. And it is so good. And it has done so much good for me to, to see Jesus more clearly, follow him, submit to him as the one who is really and rightfully in charge. And you know, what's going to happen. If you do that, you're gonna find some day. You're gonna wake up in the morning, Sunday. And you're going to say to yourself, my goodness, I have given up the, the search for my authentic self. I just not worried about it. It's not a thing for me. It doesn't even, it's not, it doesn't matter. I, I you've let that go yet. Here's the cool thing by God's grace. He gives it back. He gives it back. You are discovering your authentic self by finding it in God. He takes you there by his love his grace and you are becoming the person that you were meant to be. And I tell you, it is good from experience. It is glorious and it's not because I'm glorious. It's because he is. That is the way to find your authentic self because he is God. Speaker 1 00:31:05 So I'm going to ask you God, thank you that you are a good God and we don't have to try. And thank you that the battle though, it's hopeless. If it were us against you is very hopeful because it doesn't have to be a battle at all because you've offered this reconciliation in Jesus Christ. He died and rose again. I pray that if anyone here hasn't discovered that this shelter today, I pray that those of us who are in the battle would remember who is God and let that strengthen us in the battle so that we can find our authentic self in. You pray this in Jesus name. Amen. I told you I was going to tell you where you can find that podcast go to S T r.org. That stands for stand to reason, str.org. And there's a podcast menu thing. There look for a podcast title. Speaker 1 00:32:18 What high school students are thinking, str.org. What high school students are thinking. I think you will really get a lot of insight out of this real life. A lot of insight, anyone who's new here, please go to the connection room by the front doors here. We have a gift for you. Glad to have you here. Anyone who may have made a decision to trust Christ, as Tim said earlier, find someone here and let us know about it, about your decision, Brad. We'll be back next week, Lord willing. So God bless you as you go and have a great day.

Other Episodes

Episode 1

September 29, 2021 00:34:48
Episode Cover

Episode 3-1 — Pastors' Equipping Series: Sample Sermon on Critical Race Theory

Updated: See the summary explainer article at The Stream! Critical race theory: Could you preach on it in church? Teach it in a small...

Listen

Episode 1

June 13, 2020 00:16:13
Episode Cover

Podcast Episode 1: "Too Used To Jesus"

On this inaugural episode of a revamped Thinking Christian podcast, Tom Gilson describes a problem undermining American Christianity, subtly yet definitely: We've grown to...

Listen

Episode 13

September 18, 2020 00:08:14
Episode Cover

Episode 13: Wisdom in The Bible's Silence on Jesus' Childhood

Have you ever wondered about Jesus' childhood? I have! Mary and Joseph knew his miraculous origin, yet they still must have wondered about him....

Listen