Don't " Just Be Yourself"

Jon Burgess


7The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
8But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 1 Kings 12:7-8

26Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David...28So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. 1 Kings 12:26-28


Proverbs 15:22 states, "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed." So, it's clear we need wise counsel to move forward. The operative word being "wise". For Proverbs 13:20 also says, "He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm." Two times, two kings in the same chapter walk infoolishness because they choose not to head the counsel of the wise. King Jeroboam was being led by a fear of losing power so he simply found some counselors who would agree with his course of action and led the people of God into idol worship. King Rehoboam was being led by pride and proving his power so there was no way he was going to "be a servant" to his people has the wise counselors of his father King Solomon suggested. So, he simply went out to find some friends that would agree with the way he thought and immediately lost the respect of the very people he had been called to lead.


What's the big deal? Both Kings were just "being true to themselves" as the modern mantra goes. Our current post-truth post-Christian culture has one value by which everything is judged, "Be Yourself". If anyone contradicts what you currently hold as true then you can patently reject them because they are just trying to get you to deny who you truly are. What if Thomas Lansing Massing was right when he said, "Be yourself" is about the worst advice you can give some people." What if the reason wise counsel is in our lives is to help us to be better then our baser selves? To help us grow beyond the selfish self-centered tendencies that tend to rule our decision-making processes? To, dare I say I it, learn to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Christ by serving those around us? As Christians, we haven't been called to be ourselves but to become more like Christ? How? First, through worship of the One True God which will keep us from seeking out the worship of man. Second, by serving others instead of our own agenda we will follow in Christ's pattern of leadership. These are the very two things the two kings decided to ignore in the pursuit of "just being themselves".


The closer I come to You Lord, the clearer I see who I was made to be. It's not in serving myself that I find true fulfillment, but rather in serving You and those around me. My flesh doesn't like serving, but my flesh doesn't get to define me anymore. That's Your job. You remind me who I am. It's easy to find those who will agree with me, but You have given me the gift of wise counsel that will challenge me to truly seek Your face above my self-will. A decision made by popular opinion or fear of losing power will always result in an abuse of power and a worship of man. Lord, I thank You for the warning stories of these two kings today. You have entrusted me with a measure of authority and the only way to avoid the pitfalls of these kings is to resist the mantra to "just be yourself" and instead to lay my self daily on the altar of Your will! Instead of listening to the advice, "just follow your heart", I'm choosing to just follow Your heart. After all, the prophet Jeremiah reminds me,"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jer. 17:9). So, why would I listen to that crooked compass when I have You as my true north?

Devotions for June 12

1 Kings 12
2 Chronicles 10,11
Philippians 2

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