Authenticity is not a new word, it’s been buzzing around in Christian circles for some time. We’ve been told to be authentic. Be the real deal. The Bible makes it clear that our love for God and others should be authentic as well.
“Let love be without hypocrisy,” Romans 12:9 says (NASB). Or the NLT puts it this way, “Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them.” Another version says, “Love must be sincere.” Another, “Let love be genuine.”
Who knew there were so many ways to express the importance of authenticity!
And therein lies the dilemma. The fact that being real before God & others is good & right & honorable & Christ-like…well, is it any question it’s upside down to our natural inclinations?
I’ve been pondering this as I prepare to confront other women with this truth at The M.O.M. Initiative’s Better Together Conference next week. We as women (& human-kind in general) long for connection. But even more, way deep down, we desire real connection. Superficial is fine out on the fringe. Surface talk can keep us from being totally alone…but without those relationships that are safe as we “work out our faith in fear & trembling,” we continue to long for that which we know is missing. That which God intended to help sharpen us, refine us…that which God intended for us to help sharpen others, refine others…
But it’s a risk. When we are honest about our struggles, our shortcomings, our insecurities, our strongholds, we risk rejection. We also risk flattery and enablement. We risk abandonment. It seems that there’ s so much more to lose when we live and love genuinely than when we keep others at a distance.
And isn’t it the same in reverse? When that person we’ve admired or put on a pedestal for so long begins to confess what’s really going on in their life, we have to face the conflict within ourselves to decide whether we really want to be close to them or not.
It’s the hard ugly truth.
That’s one of the million reasons we need to cling to God’s grace. His grace loved us “while we were still sinners.” His grace is unrelenting. His grace denies selfishness, has no pretense or falseness. Christ loved people even when they rejected the truth about Him. Christ stayed true to His person and purpose even when He didn’t meet the expectations others had of Him.
And He can enable us to live in this same way. As we confess our need for His genuine love to work in and through us every single day, He will be faithful in the process. Yup, that word again: Process. We won’t see instant perfection; rather, progress as we continue to abide in Him. And even though it’s stinkin’ hard, it’s worth it…if not this moment, eventually it will be.
By His grace, LauraLee
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. 1 Thess 5:23-24
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