You do You (and other lies)

You do you!

Believe in yourself!

Follow your heart!

Do what makes you happy!

Love yourself!

These phrases appear all over these days. From social media posts to inspirational blog posts, magazine articles, and self-help books. You will be quick to find something pertaining to one of these sayings and it makes sense because our society is all about self-affirmation. I confess to saying one more of these and have humbly sought forgiveness and wisdom from the Lord. I’ve recently heard a friend say “you do you” in response to someone they know living a certain way they don’t agree with.

But is that how God wants us to live? Is this Biblical?

Our society, especially here in the U.S.A. is very self-serving. Everywhere you will see commercials, posters, billboards, and more celebrating individuality and encouraging women to “be themselves” and to “do what makes you happy”! In fact, a major beauty supply retailer launched a campaign in the Summer of 2022 celebrating women’s individuality, resilience, and strength. Included in this campaign were women who were from all different backgrounds and men masquerading as women. Yep, you read that right and I’m not going to describe it any other way. This campaign was embraced and celebrated by many celebrities and some I follow on social media. It was a bit shocking when I even saw self-professing Christians sharing the posts.

I don’t know why I continue to be shocked when this comes up but I am.

This idea of “you do you” is a bit crazy to me. First, the phrase can be used for a couple of situations. The first is when someone makes a decision for themselves that they deem is right for them. The second is when someone can’t seem to make a decision even if suggestions have been given. I’ve also heard the phrase used with an additional thought – it doesn’t affect me in any way. In other words, the decision the other person made has no effect on anyone else. Therefore, “you do you”.

This is such a huge contradiction to what the Word of God says. Sure, there isn’t anything wrong with having confidence in something you’re able to do. But that self-confidence needs to be accompanied by some other character traits such as humility and the fear of God. It’s imperative that we as Christian women take heed to the fine line that is drawn between a “self-love-you-do-you-believe-in-yourself” mentality and putting all our trust in the Lord and Him alone. There is also clear guidance in scripture for how we approach others who make sinful choices. It does indeed affect us.

When we use any of the phrases shared above, the focus is on the self. They point toward our own strengths and encourage placing our faith and trust in our own abilities. The implication is that we can trust ourselves and should “follow our heart”. Oh, sinner. This is so contradictory to what the Lord has to say about us.

Psalm 53:1-3 (ESV) says: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity: there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

If you think this verse is just for the people of the Old Testament, it is quoted in Romans 3:10-12 by Paul to the Romans. As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

In Luke 18:19, Jesus is addressing a rich ruler who calls Jesus “good”. Jesus’ response to him is “why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Proverbs 3:5 tell us to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Jeremiah 9:23, the Lord says, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, and that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.” Follow your heart? Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Repeatedly, in scripture, we are reminded we are filled with sin and to believe in the LORD. In fact, we are told to look away from ourselves and not to rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). How much clearer can it be made that every single one of the phrases above are contradicting what scripture tells us? Are we the way and truth of our own lives? Absolutely not. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The next time someone says to “follow your heart”, you can say your heart is deceitful but God is faithful and sovereign. Psalm 115:1 is a beautiful reminder of where to place our hope and who to follow at all times! Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” God – alone – is worthy of our trust, our worship, and our loyalty. It is so tempting to allow our society to whisper the lie to believe in ourselves but when left to ourselves – we fail.

So, what about others? If we see someone else living a sinful life and making choices contrary to the Bible? What are we to do? Do we say, “Hey… you do you, sister…” because it doesn’t affect us? I believe it depends on the relationship and if one is a professing Christian. It also depends on how scripture tells us to live and scripture is pretty clear about that.

Matthew 5:14-16 tells us we are “the light of the world” and to “let your light shine before others“. Ephesians 5:8 says we are now “light in the Lord” and to “walk as children of light”. What does this mean? Well, what does a light do? It helps us to see, right? So, we are to be that light to help others see God and His truth! Is telling someone, who is living in sin, “you do you” shining the light of Christ to them? Absolutely not! Even if it doesn’t affect our personal lives, to excuse the sin and take the opportunity to show Pure Love is doing a disservice to the way we are called to live.

Of course, there is a loving way to do this. I do not recommend you declare fire and brimstone but what an incredible opportunity to share the gospel and not compromise what the Word of God says. Here is a spectacular perspective to take on being a light to others around us. We are all image-bearers of God. In Genesis 1:26, we read that God made “man” in His image. This is all men; Christians and non-Christians. All humankind is made in the image of God. There is no one on this earth who is not in need of the gospel. All of us on this earth are heading down one of two paths – eternal life in heaven or eternal life in hell.

What will you do to be a light to those around you who live in sin? Will you dismiss their choices with “you do you” or will you take the bold stance in sharing the life-saving truth that is the gospel? It won’t be easy. You’ll be setting yourself up for persecution and losing friends but what are you more concerned with? Pleasing man or the Lord? Obeying God or succumbing to the whim of society? Will you compromise your faith in order to be accepted by others or will you be courageous and rooted and build up in Him and established in the faith (Colossians 2:7)?

I’m not saying we need to go seek out other sinners in a coffee shop and ask if they realize they are living in sin and repent of their ways. Or maybe we should??? But, when we have an opportunity to instead of saying “you do you”, say something like, “let me tell you about my Jesus” – oh what an incredible gift and opportunity to share about the Living Hope we know of.

What about fellow Christians? These are our sisters who have declared Christ as their Savior. First, no matter if we are sharing with a Christian or non-Christian, we must have the right attitude. Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13 and 1 Peter 3:8 give more direction on putting on the virtues of Christ. With a compassionate heart, humility, and patience, we can speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Paul tells us in Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. “Spiritual” are those who are walking in the Spirit in faith and obedience – it’s not a word to elevate anyone. The second part of this verse gives a warning as well – as we give gentle restoration we must also be aware of how easy it is – for all of us – to be tempted by Satan.

Always go to the Lord first, have an attitude of humility, love, and genuine concern for the other person, and commit to what the Word of God says.

Sometimes these conversations will result in the sister not walking away from her sin. Matthew 18:15-17 gives the process of confronting a sinning brother or sister and would be what to follow.

This is rarely an easy process but it is so worth it! When we observe someone repenting of their sin and receiving restoration from Jesus – it is a reason for a joyous celebration! It is an opportunity to remember how faithful and merciful God is and He fulfills His promises in scripture.

I’ve got some new phrases to leave you with.

Believe and trust in the Lord!

Follow Jesus!

Do what pleases the Lord!

Love God!

Don’t “do you” – lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge HIS ways! (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Any additional thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

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