The Three Big Lies Are Three Big Lies

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I saw this image on social media recently. Calling itself The Three Big Lies,I read through it and realized that classifying these statements as lies has one problem. It’s a lie. Here they are:

  • I am what I have.
  • I am what I do.
  • I am what other people say about me.

I’d like to make the case that, in fact,

  • I am what I have.
  • I am what I do.
  • I am what other people say about me.

Allow me to prove it.

I Am What I Have

What you have tells others something about you. Jesus had nothing. The same was true with the apostles. But they had Christ. They had the power of the Spirit. Yet, other Christians had possessions. If you looked around your house right now, what would your possessions say about you? Can people look into your home, or office, or anywhere you spend your time and see something of a witness for Christ in your life? Is it obvious to others by what you own that you are a Christian? (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). You are what you have. What you have says something about you.

I Am What I Do

What you do is part of what it means to be made in the image of God. Before marriage, before family, before anything else there was work and work is the primary way to imitate God. You cannot reflect the image of God in you without some kind of labor. Even the retired do this by the history of their labor. Consider, what was the first thing that scripture told us about God to help us understand who he is? It is this statement, “In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1). Did you get that? The first description about God in the Bible is a statement about what God does, his work. He is Creator. Actually, the book of Job was likely written before Genesis. After Job complains to God about his treatment God answers him by doing what? By giving a description of himself as Creator (Job 38-41). If God’s identity can be described by what he does, then why not you, who was made in God’s image? What is an image? Something that represents another thing. Therefore, if God is Creator and you are his image, then you are what you do.

I Am What Other People Say About Me

Actually, this is also true. Your reputation is critical in your walk with God. The apostle Paul said that we must have, “A good reputation with outsiders” (I Timothy 3:7). The Jewish leaders recognized that the disciples had, “Been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). If we have a bad reputation—what others think of us—then we will be ineffectual for God’s kingdom. What other people say about you may hold weight, whether their opinion is good or bad. And let’s be honest, very often what others say about us is well earned.

In my life and career I’ve come across people who think I’ve done great things. I’ve had people call me a genius and a hero, though I felt unequal to the description. But, I’ve also come across people who think I’m the scum of the earth. When I lived in Mongolia there were people who wanted to work with me for our common ministry interests. Then there were some who tried to get me thrown out of the country. Some opinions were good and I earned them. And some were bad because I earned them. And there were a few who sought to destroy me for their own pleasure and power. It takes all kinds. The point is, my reputation was more often than not, earned. And so is yours. So, you are what other people say about you. Because what they think about you is what you’ve earned.  

Conclusion

These three descriptors, reputed to be false, are actually true, when you consider the scriptural side of things. In fact, let’s take these descriptions in reverse and you’ll soon see how wrong the are. If the descriptions are correct, then:

  • What I have says nothing about me.
  • What I do has nothing to do with who I am.
  • What others say about me has no bearing on my reputation.

Do you see just how silly these things are? How easy it is to believe such sophistry. But, don’t be afraid to embrace these descriptions. Embrace them all, as a whole, because as a whole they have valuable insight into who and what you are. You are human, a noble creation, and to deny these descriptions of you would be to deny your God-given humanity.

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