It’s a common phrase I hear regularly. You do you. What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean, be yourself, don’t let other people’s opinions stress you out, be who you were meant to be? Perhaps it started out that way.
Now it seems to mean something deeper. More like “nobody can tell you what to do.” But that isn’t true. There are many boundaries we need to live by. “You do you” begins to sound quite self-centered and we know that isn’t what the Scriptures exhort us to be.
Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) That doesn’t sound much like “you do you.” In order for me to follow Christ, I have to learn to NOT do me.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he makes a clear case for what should influence our actions when he says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in everything, not seeking my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Our goal is to bring glory to God and to bring others to Christ. If you focus on yourself—if you do you—are you really putting Christ first? Or is it just a way of giving us permission to serve ourselves?
Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 11:1 to say, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” Paul wasn’t asking the Corinthians to “do Paul,” he was telling them that HE was doing Christ and so should they.
And so should we.
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