This is Just Who I Am

“This is just who I am, they are going to just have to learn how to deal with it.”  I have heard that basic sentiment in a number of different ways, by a number of different people.  “I was made sarcastic so people have to learn to deal with my sarcasm.” “It is just my nature to speak my mind. If people do not like it then they do not have to be my friend.” Even Miley Cyrus uses excused her outlandish behavior at a recent awards show when she said on the today show, "This is just who I am" Although many may applaud these statements, they reveal a tremendous flaw in one’s theology. 

We have a sin nature.  We are products of the fall.  We all have different predominant sin struggles inherent with our personality.  It may be anger or anxiety. It could be drunkenness or deception.  Regardless of what sin struggles may denominate our lives the Bible does not allow us to use our struggles as an excuse against sin. 

Romans 8:3b-8, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is 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.”

Jesus came to destroy the works of the flesh by condemning sin in the flesh.  Jesus does not excuse our natural inclinations of sin, but came to pay the penalty for them. His death eliminates our excuse to rest in our flesh. He died so we could overcome our natural desires to sin in being freed to walk according to the Spirit.  When we live according to the Spirit, we live for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.  When people justify their sinful behavior because it was “how they were made,” they are not living for the glory of God and not seeking the good of their neighbor. 

If your sarcasm offends people, stop using sarcasm. I love to make people laugh and love to joke around with people.  I have had to learn (and am still learning) that my efforts to bring laughter can also hurt the feelings of those I love.  Would it be right for me to say, “I was made with a desire to make people laugh and if people are offended so be it?” Or would it better to say, “I need to learn to control my natural desires so they are led by the Spirit and are used to build up my neighbor and to not tear them down.”

The flesh and the Spirit are in opposition to one another. Paul continues to show this in Romans 8:12-14,

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

I am a debtor.  God’s grace has freed me to live by His Spirit.  Are you a debtor to the flesh or the Spirit? Are you resting in the flesh or being renewed by the Spirit?  We have to be thoughtful about our lives for listen again to the grave consequences of those who fall on the wrong side, “if you live according to the flesh you will die.”

When was the last time you said something like, “this is just who I am people are going to have to learn to deal with it?” It is a selfish way of thinking. It is of the flesh. It does not consider God’s Word or the good of our neighbor. 

God never allows us to use our natural desires as an excuse for sin.  Jesus came and put an end to that excuse in condemning sin in the flesh so we could live in righteousness. 

Listen out for the excuses you make in your own heart to sin.  And help those you love by listening to their excuses to sin. And then remind your own heart and the hearts of those you love that Jesus has condemned sin in the flesh so we might no longer walk according to the flesh, but by the Spirit. For to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  Look to Jesus.  He died so that you could no longer live by the flesh and to serve yourself. He died so that you could live for Him in righteousness leaning to lay down your natural desires for better ones. 

Don’t make excuses for who you are, but strive to be who you supposed to be in Christ. Follow in John Newton’s steps, (the author of the great hymn of the faith Amazing Grace),

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”[1]

Steven Brazzell

Charlotte, NC