When I think of being an authentic Christian, my mind immediately goes to James 2:14-18, “What good is it, brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So, also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
Some have surmised that this speaks to works righteousness, but they are mistaken. Here James is speaking of works born from faith in God. In other words, because they have faith, their works naturally follow. Because they live out an authentic Christian faith they, in turn, live an authentic Christian life.
Authenticity is so very important in the Christian life, yet many feel the need to wear masks, especially in church. The world weighs on them to such an extent that they feel they must appear to be something they are not. In church they talk a good game, but in their lives, their actions are still governed by worldly acceptance. Their faith in God is compromised by the acknowledgement they seek outside the church walls.
As a result of this, we become the plastic people that many non-Christians paint us to be. We teach one thing but live another. We look down on people who are no greater sinners then ourselves. The hypocrisy, therefore, builds a roadblock because authenticity is lacking.
So, how does one become authentic in a way that is God pleasing? We first look to Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Take off the masks. Do what is right, at all times. Make everything you do a ministry unto God. Love passionately, serve willingly, resist temptation, hold fast to what is good.
We read the account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 and it shocks us. They were dishonest and God made them pay with their lives. They confessed one thing but lived another. It seems harsh, but God was making a point.
They lacked authenticity, and because of thier lukewarmness, they presented a greater threat to the church then if they would have been either hot or cold. Like an evil virus, this inauthentic lifestyle infects person after person until it destroys the church.
When this happens, no one can know what to trust. The church teaches this but her people are doing that and, more often then not, people will take the easy way, the way of worldliness.
That is why God will not be satisfied with just a percentage of our devotion. He wants you to love Him with your whole heart, soul and mind. He wants you to surrender completely. He wants your faith in Him to be completely authentic, devoid of any corruption.
Christ died so that we might know the truth so that it might lead us to be authentic in our faith. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.” Earlier John had said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Free from the masks that worldliness requires you to wear. Free from the double life you feel you must live. Free from the need for worldly acceptance. Free to be who God created you to be.
Live your life authentically. Break from the shackles and trust in God. Let the Holy Spirit work a faith in you that is shown in the things you do and say. Be genuine and let yourself rest in the arms of the Almighty. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for working in our hearts to create a true faith. Forgive us when our lives have not lived out that faith to such an extent that it is shown in all we do. Give us strength to be the people You have created us to be. Amen.