Be Who You Are

Stay Grounded in the Message of Faith

I had the privilege of being mentored by a man who is now gone. I became one of the first interns on the staff with Ray Stedman at Peninsula Bible Church.

Do what you love
(Image from Pixabay)

And I saw in Ray something I had not seen modeled in many pastors . . . an authentic life.

Ray was just who he was. I saw it work. I saw a man who was not defensive, who could laugh at himself, who had fun in life and yet was as good a thinker on his feet in question/answer sessions as I’d ever seen.

I saw a man who could love the homosexual and at the same time do an excellent biblical presentation on the sin of homosexuality. I saw a man who had a room in his life for a wayward child. I saw a man who hardly traveled alone, no matter where he went, and always had someone younger with him.

One of the secrets of building character in the lives of others is taking time for those younger than you. Those who are longing for the qualities and the character that have made you who you are. Ray did this for me.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:

If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed (1 Timothy 4:6).

In Paul’s mind, to be a worthy servant is to be authentic. I love that!

  • No matter how significant you may become
  • No matter how well known your name
  • No matter how important your work
  • No matter your salary
  • No matter what your reputation may be

You must allow yourself to become who you are. I’m not a formula guy, but this simple little formula has worked for me throughout my adult life: Know who you are, accept who you are, be who you are . . . all the while devoting your life to the message of faith which has been entrusted to you.

The greatest gift you can give to your congregation, to your family, to whomever—as the Lord continues to work in your life—is who you are. I have a good friend who says it this way,

We are not who we are, we are not even who we think we are. We are who we think other people think we are.

(Read that again.) And if you’re in that world no wonder you have such struggles with character!

Authenticity will not emerge from a phony life, which is all the more reason to go back to that word that so characterized Ray’s life: authentic. Know who you are, accept who you are, be who you are. That’s really it in a nutshell.

—Chuck

Like This? Subscribe to Our Feed!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I HAVE MET A FEW MEN LIKE YOUR FRIEND.USUALLY THEY ARE MEN OF EXCEPTIONAL INTEGRITY.
    I WAS BORN AGAIN IN 1978,AND BEGAN LISTENING TO YOUR BROADCAST AND READING YOUR BOOKS.
    I HAVE PERCEIVED YOU TO BE ONE OF THESE THAT GET A REVELATION FROM G-O-D, AND THEN DECODE IT FOR HUMAN EARS.-THANK YOU CHUCK–PTL

  • Pierre Franco

    Pastor Chuck,
    If I’m not mistaken, you once said “Ray Stedman is what I want to be when I grow up.” Well, Chuck Swindoll is what I want to be when I grow up. I know who I am and I don’t have an identity crisis. But God help me, I will meet you someday and hopefully have the privilege you had with Ray Stedman, even if for a short while. I have one more year left for my undergrad’s and then on to DTS. I have been reading your books, listening to your sermons, and studying you for years. I don’t have the slightest desire to meet movie stars or be famous. My dad is my best friend pastor Chuck. But it’s his fault I want nothing more in this life than to preach the word as you do. He’s the one who listened to your preachings while I sat in his car for as far back as I can recall memory in the short 29 years I have graced this earth =) I know you’re probably thinking it’s too late for that, but I won’t give up on my dream. God bless you and hope to see you soon!

  • Jeff McAnally

    Today I have sat in this chair, enduring a painful recovery from a second shoulder surgery….Thankful again for the ministry of Mr. Swindoll! Our lives are blessed because of the consistent teaching and preaching from this Man of God!
    So, this chair, this pain that shackles me , can never be called useless…. It has been here that I have been in HIS presence….reflecting on the Word as lead by the minister in my living room, Chuck Swindoll!
    Jeff McAnally