Authenticity is a word often used but rarely adhered to in this materialistic world we live in. The process of being authentic necessitates the requirement to be intentionally transparent. It requires us to be REAL.
Who is authentic in your life?
The word authentic is defined as: genuine, of undisputed origin, not copied or false, true and accurate, made to look like the original, and having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence.
Jesus was the true example of authenticity. His actions mirrored the depth of who He was. He radiated the effervescence of truth in all that he did. As believers we are called to be like him, imitators of Christ in our every action. (Eph. 5:1)
Ephesians 5: 8-9 goes on to say,”.. you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the Light. For the fruit will be every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.”
Living AUTHENTIC lives does not mean we are perfect, because we are not. What I am learning, though is that being authentic is being intentionally honest and open. It is a chance to relate to someone else with no ulterior motives, but with a purpose to share a part of my heart with others.
I confess, I am a people pleaser, somewhat of a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and someone who probably thinks a bit deeper than I need to at times. Sometimes that combination seems overwhelming considering the whole ‘authenticity’ topic, however, I do strive to be both real and honest in my living as I relate to others. It is perhaps oxymoronic to suggest that a perfectionistic people pleaser, who is hopefully moving forward on a grace-filled road to recovery, could in any way be rationally authentic. Yet, with God all things are possible!
- How do we become intentionally authentic in this idealistic world of fake?
- How do we become Real?
It is dangerous. We are open to hurt. It is possible we will lose. So why do we want to make the effort?
A few scriptures come to mind when I think about this topic of transparent living, written by an apostle whose life was authentically changed by one encounter with Jesus Christ. Paul wrote his letters to the church in Corinth, which was located in Greece. It is noted, historically, as a city of prominence, wealth, learning, and affluence. He was not writing to an unlearned population, but one that was fluent in rhetoric, philosophy, and science. Paul talks about the importance of living lives which are conducted according to the Law of God, not the law of man. Though his views were not always popular, he did not waver in his behavior or his belief. He was authentic.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5 – Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it.
Whether or not people agreed with Paul, they were listening to him. They were paying attention to what he said. That is the irony of it. At the Aereopagus in Athens, a place of renaissance and new beginnings, the philosophers eagerly listened to what this man of God had to say, even when it was not in agreement with all that they believed. In their polytheistic belief system, these thinkers had an altar inscribed, “To the Unknown God”, because they wanted to be inclusive to all. Their desire for more knowledge kept them interested in the information Paul had to share. They even extended an invitation for him to speak to them again. That day, the Bible says that some did believe. His authenticity bore fruit and touched lives; it changed them.
John 13:35 tells us that people will know us by the fruit of our lives.
- What does your fruit look like?
- Is it authentic?
People are looking for AUTHENTIC people. We often cloak ourselves with veils of fallacy in order to feel like we must fit in, but it’s the courageous one who takes off the veil and reveals the depth of a life touched by Truth. Personally, I am drawn towards a person who walks without the veil. I am easily attracted to someone who has a few scars on their surface and a bit of ‘junk’ in their past. They have the ability to extend grace a little easier, because they, too, have known grace. (Luke 7:47) I think that at our core we all want to connect with real people, even if it is frightening, because we want to have the freedom to live authentically. That is what we are meant to do.
Be free to be authentically YOU!
Philippians 1: 9-11 says, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. That you may approve things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.”
When I think of the kindred spirit blessings in my life, those whose transparency preceded my knowledge of them personally, I smile. One dear friend felt the need to tell me all the bad things first, just so I knew. What was hard for me to believe was that there was a possibility, in their thinking, that I may actually think less of them for that. The genuine honesty touched my heart so deeply that it only drew me to them even more. There is something genuinely freeing about living a life of authenticity. You can’t HELP but be exactly who you are and if you try, you become miserable. Not just for you, but for others. When we do that, we all miss out.
You have so much beauty on the inside of you.
Authenticity allows the beauty inside to manifest on the outside. Simplicity authenticates the goal of the gospel living in our daily pilgrimage. It gravitates toward the purpose of mission-minded living and serving one another in love and in faith. As I consider how Paul related to the theologians of his day, I realize that he didn’t press his opinion but rather he shared his ideas. He responded honestly when asked a question, not worrying whether they agreed. He was free to be REAL, knowing that as thinkers they were interested in what he had to say. He expounded upon those ideas that were real, relevant, and relational to the crowd. He met them where they were. Just like Jesus meets us exactly we are, every single day.
Imitate Christ’s approach to people as you consider your own.
Authenticity imitates Christ’s passion to meet everyone on their level. We must revere the Holiness of WHO He is, but we can also approach the Throne of Grace boldly. There is liberty in the promise of acceptance. There is hope in the gift of grace. There is mercy in the light of love. There is compassion in the gift of sincerity. The very nature of gospel-living demands the evidence of authenticity which reveals its powerful truth in our relationships. (Heb 4:12)
Communicate the character of Christ to others.
Philip Yancey wrote about authentic Christians in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, in which he said, “ An authentic Christian communicates grace and forgiveness.” He used examples of the life of 2 Russian philosophers, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, both pursued lives of relentless authenticity. Though they took different paths to achieve their goal, they were no less authentic in their pursuit. They lived passionately through the ideals and the concepts which their lives clung to. Authenticity sets apart those who are longing for something more than complacency.
To be genuinely authentic we need to match the inner covering of the heart to the outer flesh covering of the soul.
When we spend time in the presence of God our normal is audaciously bold.
We can have a perspective rich in mercy, flowing in love, abounding in grace, and multiplied in power.
This kind of faith-filled living prunes our lives radically for authenticity. When the radical meets the everyday our views change and our actions follow. We move past the effort to please ourselves, abandoning the veil, and purposing to please God alone. This is the authentic YOU which follows hard after Christ. It is this place of purpose and genuine transparency that allow us to become tools in the hand of God, changing the lives of others simply by being present.
This topic is a bit heavy, but it has been weighing on my heart for some time. It is easy to hear the bad reports and even easier to believe them. It is easy to think that you are not affecting others. It is easy to feel that you are spinning your wheels and going no-where. But it is here, in the real everyday situations life brings where authenticity shines. This is your mission field of promise where you can plow and plant seeds of faith cultivated by God’s love. You may not reap the harvest, but I am finding that the greatest act, requiring supernatural faith, is planting the seeds. If you don’t plant the seed, there won’t be a harvest to reap.
Living authentically is a radical step of faith. The collision of radical faith among the arid hearts of lukewarm believers is a moment of cataclysmic proportions. AUTHENTICITY is the seed that starts with radical change. Reality changes when our perception of grace warps our natural tendency to judge and serve self. If I am willing to live radically authentic, then I can speak volumes without even saying a word.
Authentic living allows for the gifts that are inside of you to manifest in the lives of others to the Glory of God. Step to the edge. Clothe yourself in humility. Jump in with both feet. Be Authentically Beautiful You!
So now I want to hear from you! I have included a pdf. journal page for you to journal your thoughts on this topic.
- What does an authentic person look like to you?
- What is your definition of Authentic Faith?
- Can you share an example?
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Prayers and Blessings!
Journal your way to an Authentically Beautiful You with this journal page I created just for you.