One of the problems in the church is that we’re not authentic enough. We all hear this pretty often.
Authentic is a lovely word. And being “authentic” sounds so real, but I don’t think being authentic is what we’re looking for! When:
-Nellie is complaining about the pastor, I think she’s being pretty authentic in her whining.
-Burt the treasurer rants about wasting money on missions, he’s being very authentic about his stingy, narrow mentality as well as indifference to missions.
-Adam slanders you on the Internet, he’s being intentional and authentic about his destruction of your reputation.
-Brother Bob spiritually manipulates and bullies other members, he’s being powerfully authentic in his intimidating manner.
-Verna “prays” for God to have others confess their secret sins, she’s being super authentic in her self-righteousness.
We all exhibit our various sins very—authentically!
Everyone is constantly reinventing how to be “authentic” and “relevant.” Authentic is now another overdone, overused word, and like the retiring of a famous athlete’s number, we need to send it to cliché word and phrases hell along with its siblings—bottom line, rubber meets the road, cutting edge, relevant, and like, you know. May they all rest in peace.
So how about being, well, human? Alive, passionate, risk-taking, adventurous, loving, giving, fallen, humble servants of the living Christ—salt and light, exhibiting involuntary (instinctive) behavior that includes:
- Acknowledging our fallen natures, repenting, asking for forgiveness (of God and whomever we may have hurt), and celebrating what Christ has done for us
- Praying for (instead of berating) our enemies (and those hateful political candidates)
- Seeking to be biblically-based servant-leaders—not just grafting business principles and baptizing them into “Christian values”
- Standing firm for the truth of the Gospel
- Cutting back on our wants, but giving to others in need
- Being less about comfort, more about comforting those hurting in these extraordinarily tough economic times
- Recognizing that there are moral values and choices, good and bad, and making those tough choices
- Being joyful—enjoying God
- Giving, giving, and giving some more
- Actively practicing compassion, in deed, not just long spiritually washed words and meaningless prayers
- Concerning ourselves about reaching out to those who need to hear the Good News
- Being godly daily, not just as a Sunday morning exercise
- Confessing our sins, repenting, and turning to love and help our neighbor
- Asking for forgiveness when we have wronged someone
- Humility, instead of parading our pomposity
- Dumping our resentment and jealousies, making restitution where possible
- Preferring others over ourselves
- Weeping with those who weep, being compassionate
- Spreading laughter and hope like a pandemic infectious disease
So let’s throw away our anger, resentment, our selfish wants—striving only for earthly success, and the need for the applause of our peers. And let’s be who we are called to be—vibrant people in Christ wherever and whenever anyone meets us!
We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time. – Excerpted from “Still Human” from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest