Authentic. That one little word encompasses so much. It reminds us to be ourselves, to embrace who God created us to be. It never calls us to be a copy of someone else or to paint a picture so rosy that others feel inferior. We’re called to humble ourselves, to be real with others, comfortable in our own skin. We’re called to be set apart, to be in the world but not of it.
Part of being authentic is staying true to one’s self and true to the Creator. Authenticity can quickly morph into something undesirable if not kept in check. For example, it’s always interesting to watch what happens when the world’s spotlight shines on Christians who are given a platform.
We all struggle with the temptation of pride, but it seems when given the opportunity to shine for Jesus, many choose to shine for themselves. Their intentions may be pure and good at the start, but it all quickly fades into a world of self-promotion spurred by pride.
Proverbs 11:2 states:
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”. Proverbs 16:18 says:
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
And Proverbs 29:23 drives the point home: “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”
Our society relentlessly celebrates facade and, sadly, many Christians follow suit. Christians who forfeit authenticity for the world’s acceptance will never be truly happy. And those who run after worldly wealth, excessive luxury, fame and fans may get their trinket reward in the short-term, but may find themselves without much treasure in an eternal heaven. God is not a fan of false humility and self-glorification, and neither of these escape His attention.
Have we forgotten that we’re to be authentic in everything? Have we failed to remember that everything we do needs to point back to Jesus?
How easily we can find ourselves forgetting that every breath we take, every day we’re given, is a gift from God and He alone. Are we in such need of attention that we’re willing to forfeit our true selves for a watered-down, ineffective version of ourselves? Is it really so hard to just be who we were created to be…to just be real?
Pride, selfishness, and the desire to be people pleasers all chip away at authenticity. They create barriers which harm a person’s witness. Living life with an eternal perspective can do wonders in keeping authenticity in check. When looking at the bigger picture, we quickly realize life is about placing others before ourselves and approaching every situation with a humble heart.
It’s about being real and keeping it real. An eternal perspective helps us in this pursuit. It keeps us grounded and in constant remembrance of our life’s purpose…to love Him, serve Him through serving others, and make Him known.
The first chapter of Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was just real? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to live in a world without the influence of facade with no form of celebrity? A place where there’s no room for “Look at ME!” social sites? The world would no doubt be a little bit better…a little brighter. Humbleness would have more places to call home within communities and hearts. A world minus self-absorbing outlets would be a better world.
And how refreshing to see more Christians, if given a chance to be in the world’s spotlight, dim their own light to let Jesus shine through. To see someone be authentic and humble, pointing their “fans” to Jesus each day, feet firmly planted on the ground, rooted in authentic love.
And what a game changer if those same people, offered excessive amounts of wealth to have their likeness plastered on every trinket imaginable, actually didn’t cater this time, but instead said “No!” realizing that only their Heavenly Father should receive such attention and adoration. Only He should have fans!
How welcoming it would be to watch people reach out to others without ulterior motive. How refreshing to not see Christians act like kids with crushes lining up to meet their favorite “celebrity” in hopes of getting an “autograph”. Now, that would be a game changer. Think what God could do through humble, authentic, Jesus-seeking people!
As Christians, our authentic selves can emerge and be a blessing to others when we realize it’s not about us, but rather about our Savior! It’s about letting God take center stage, surrendering our wants, and letting God have His way.
It’s about sharing the gifts He gives, extending a hand to those in need, waking with a grateful heart, and recognizing the unconditional love God gave through the gift of His Son…a gift we can never repay. It’s about putting ourselves in the background and Jesus on the pedestal. For a Christian, real authenticity is letting Jesus take center stage and giving Him the platform to shine.
Our world is in great need of authenticity. It already has enough counterfeit everything. There will always be crowds of people craving and sprinting with open arms toward its offerings, but to those who are genuine followers of Christ, we cannot be among them. The world needs all Christians to be real. Authenticity is pivotal in powerfully moving hearts and pointing people to Jesus.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).