Jesus lived a very authentic and transparent life. How could he not when he was surrounded by his twelve disciples, as well as many others he called friend or traveled with all of the time. Jesus modeled how we are supposed to live. My life tends to be an open book. This blog is a small portion of that principle. But it’s not always easy.
In recent times, I have gotten much more selective in how transparent I am willing to be. I am actually still writing in my “7×7” time frame, but not as willing to expose everything I write to the scrutiny of public criticism – just yet. It’s in the book – it will be in print soon enough. In the mean time, Jesus is drawing me more deeply into Himself, and encompassing me with a protective circle of authentic friendships.
We shoot our wounded. Actually, I have first hand experience and counseled many others who were not only shot but, cannibalized as well. It is necessary to be selective as to who we share our innermost struggles and being with, as Satan likes nothing more than to take our vulnerabilities and use them against us. Satan is alive and thriving today.
It is my belief that the universal church is not thriving today, because somehow we have a disconnect with the real world over every day life. We have lost authentic, trusting, loving relationships.
The church is too divided over non-essential doctrines, dogmas, and creeds. When I say non-essential, I am not inferring they may not be essential to our own personal beliefs, but are they essential to Christian brother and sisterhood? Believers get downright ugly over these things. Everything from creationism versus theistic evolution, to Calvinism or Arminianism, to the Charismata, and their place or purpose today, hymns or contemporary music, all provide a place for our enemy to divide and conquer, rendering us useless to a broken world.
Then there is the issue of Christian growth. Many spend so much time emphasizing external management of sin – read the bible more, pray more, cast away sin, discipline yourself… that they completely miss out on the principle of inner transformation. External manipulations and attempting to legislate morality can never change the heart. It just leaves us feeling beat up and in despair over our repeated failures. Prayer study springs up from inner transformation.
I spent many years performance oriented (in a cult) and it only kept me on the path so far. Eventually a genuine inner transformation had to take place. The pain of repeated failures got old. A deep knowledge and personal experience of the holiness of God had to come from within the dark recesses of my soul.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Transformation stems when we experience His great love, and it should be relationships within the universal church where we first experience it. People should be able to witness our love for them and for each other, as we model Christ’s love.
The first thing we should see in others should not be their habits, religion, sexual orientation, work ethics, or lifestyle, but that they were created in the image of God.
The first thing they should see in us is authenticity. It is only through the real us that they see Jesus. Our own broken vessels are being made clean, all the cracks and holes are filled in, and we are sold out and completely in LOVE with a man-God named Jesus.
It is only through the real us they can be the real them, and develop a relationship based on trust.
Authentic Christianity means allowing the visible, changing work of the Holy Spirit to be witnessed in our lives.
Authentic friendships are knowing we are safe enough to place ourselves before them and before God, while He transforms us from the inside out. Authentic Christianity is the assurance that the friends who cheer us on the journey are as in love with us, as they are with themselves.
Authentic relationships are the ones who help to glue the cracks in broken vessels so that Jesus can fill them up.
It is time to get beyond the petty divisions and let them know us by our authentic love one for another.