Are you an authentic Christian? How can we determine how authentic we are in our faith? The Lord Jesus Christ, as narrated in the Gospel of Luke, said “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” – Luke 6:45(NKJV). This is to say when we speak, we speak what is in our heart. I also believe that when we act, we act what is in our heart. If a good man speaks the good in his heart, it goes to say that our authenticity as Christians also begins in our heart. Being authentic requires that we are what we say we are and not otherwise.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was big on being authentic and He spoke about this in the gospel of Luke chapter 12. In His reference to the Pharisees He said “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” – Luke 12:1b. This is to say the Pharisees were not genuine, they were not authentic. They hid behind the cover of religiosity. Christ does not want His followers to be like them. To be an authentic Christian, our actions must be the same as our utterances, and they must all be supported by what we feel in our hearts.
One of the most difficult aspects of being an authentic Christian is living according to the precepts of God’s Word. We tend to have some favorite passages which we have committed to memory and which we strive to follow in our daily lives. Inadvertently or sometimes, intentionally, we leave out other important aspects of the Word of God. Yes, some of those passages like “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:19, are our favorites. We believe it, we quote it, and we expect God to meet His part of that bargain. There are however other passages of the Bible like Luke 12:32 where we are enjoined to sell our belongings and give to the poor that no one seems to remember. Christian authenticity requires us to live our lives in complete obedience to the Word of God. Now what does this imply about our Christian life? If we have passages like this or other words of the Bible that we do not adhere to, does this mean we are no longer authentic?
Well, maybe a test of how authentic we are is in our hearts. How did you feel about my pointing out this subtle but important part of the Word of God? Do you feel challenged? Do you feel inadequate? Do you feel like you have a whole lot more to do? Well, that is the idea. Our Christianity is not about perfection. Our Christianity is about striving and engaging in an honest process. It is about how you feel in your heart. If the example above convicted you, it means your heart is in the right place and it means you embrace authenticity. Being authentic is knowing when we are on the right path and when we are not. Being authentic is being able to acknowledge that we have derailed when we go off the path and have a contrite heart that urges us to make corrections. Being authentic is not pretending that we are perfect, but when we are wrong, we admit it and make every effort to get back on the right path.
Authenticity can be hard because we all want to look good. This is where the authentic Christian knows that we cannot do this alone. We need God to help keep us on the right path. The Word of God in Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The whole idea of being authentic is for us to be who God wants us to be. We need God to do this because without Him we can do nothing.
September 11, 2022 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya