DON’T BE WHAT YOU AIN’T
By Elder James Groce
Editor- Apostolic Standard
The accumulated failures of our lives find their fountainhead in our
neglect of the Word of God. Why do we so frequently err in this basic
principle? The fault, without doubt, lies in the infamous flesh. The
Bible warns us, over and over, that the flesh is our greatest enemy.
“For if we walk after the flesh we will die.” And if “We sow to the
flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption.” The “flesh”, our
“flesh,” is enmity with God.
No wonder the Apostle Paul said what he did concerning the flesh, for
he realized its tremendous threat to himself and others. He learned to
fight this enemy of the things of God, he knew that he must keep his
“body under subjection.” And to make “every blow count.” In Romans he
expressed the cry of every man that has learned the real danger of the
flesh when he wrote, “Who shall deliver me from this body of death.” We
also must be on constant guard against this enemy that clings to us, if
we are to live successfully for God.
As Paul was to learn that defeating the “beasts of Ephesus” was
frequently easier than defeating the flesh. Why? Because we find the
“works of the flesh” appealing and justifiable. And without the Holy
Ghost there could be no victory over our flesh. We must take the flesh
to task if we are to walk with God. We must learn to “deny ourselves.”
Every man must “take up his cross” (a place of death and self denial)
and follow Him.
Even though countless pages could be written on each of the “works of
the flesh” and not exhaust their context, I would like rather to direct
your attention to one particular aspect of the flesh, namely supposing
to be what it’s not. Other names for this fleshly attribute are:
impersonation, masquerade, pretender, and it’s also where we derive the
It is of utmost importance that we be able to face ourselves as we
really are, for in so doing are we able only then to allow God to
perform the necessary adjustments to our character. But if we
masquerade as that which we are not then we tie, so to speak, the hands
of God–preventing any needed action on our behalf. A philosopher of
days long past once wrote, “To thine own self be true.” That’s still
pretty good advice even for today. The Bible says it this way; “God
desireth truth in the inward parts.” In other words, “Don’t Be What You
There will always be “wolves in sheep clothing” as long as there are
unhonest men who refuse to acknowledge themselves as they really are,
and as long as men turn a deaf ear to the preached Word of God and
“soon forget what matter of men” they really are. This is the opposite
of the disciple of whom the Lord said, “Behold, an Israelite in whom
there is no guile.”
To live “without hypocrisy” should be the goal of every man. May God
help us to be honest, and not as the blinded church of Revelation, in
our dealings with each other and with Him.
The following poem, I feel, says it very well:
DOAN’T YOU BE WHAT YOU AIN’T
De sunflower ain’t de daisy,
And de melon ain’t the rose.
Why is dey all so crazy
To be sumpin’ else dat grows?
Jes’ stick to the place you’s planted, and do de bes’ you knows,
Be de sunflower or de daisy,
Be de melon or de rose.
Doan’t ye be what you ain’t,
Jes’ you be what you is.
Ef a man is what he isn’t,
Den he isn’t what he is.
Ef you’s jes’ a little tadpole,
Doan’t you try to be de frog.
Ef you’s the tail doan’t you try to wag de dog.
Jes’ pass de plate ef you can’t exhort and preach;
Ef you’s jes’ a little pebble,
Doan’t ye try to be de beach.
Ef a man is what he isn’t, den he isn’t what he am,
And as sure as I’m a-talking, he surely ain’t a lamb.
Doan’t ye be what ye ain’t,
Jes’ ye be what you is.
Ef a man is what he isn’t,
Den he isn’t what he is;
And as sure as I’m a-talkin’,
He’s gwyne to git his.