Will You Show Your Real Self?
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.... Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:1-5
The "super apostles" who showed up at Corinth after Paul planted the church there had fancy letters of commendation saying how great they were. Paul is not willing to play that game. Instead, he encourages his friends in Corinth to remember two things - first, to remember their relationship with Paul and second, to remember that God's approval is enough.
You see, the "super apostles" were touting what Brenna called on Sunday the "False Self" - that part of ourselves that we like and we think is presentable and which, therefore, we exaggerate. The "super apostles" were overcompensating for their weakness and trying to impress others with their virtues. Paul reminds his friends in Corinth to look at the real, lived-out experience of relationship that they had with Paul to know who Paul is. It's not what people present to the world that is their real self, it's who shows up in real life relationships - and it's who God says we are.
Where do you find yourself trying to present a better image of yourself than is really true? What are the ways you're tempted to give in to the false self by overemphasizing your strengths just to make people like you or to convince yourself you're good enough for God? (HERE is a good summary sheet of how we often do that - it's the vices and virtues list for the different Enneagram types)
Talk with God about what you're learning about yourself and how you need his grace to embrace your true self.