“You’re a phony! I hate phonies.” Despicable Me 2
If you haven’t seen it, Despicable Me 2 is worth watching. The quote comes from the scene above.
Gru, the main character, is bald. He is on a blind date with Shannon and he is wearing a bad toupee. In his nervousness, he brushes his forehead which shifts his hair to the side. Shannon reacts with the statement above and then threatens to rip off the wig and expose Gru for the phony she thinks he is.
I’ve never worn a wig,
but I’m sure I have been less than authentic at times in my life.
Phony is the opposite of authentic. Phony means false, fake, not real. Authentic means real and true. Authenticity produces evidence. Authentic Christianity produces fruit.
How often have you heard people say that Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites?
It is one of the primary objectives that people have to Christianity. It is not always fair, but it is the perception that a lot of people have.
People don’t expect us to be perfect as Christians, but they do expect us to be authentic. Authenticity matters.
A pastor said this and went on to say that it is a compliment if someone says, “you aren’t like the other Christians I’ve met.”
I don’t think that is a compliment, I think that is a sad state of our faith.
Authenticity does matter. People will at least respect you when they know that you stand for something and live it out. They may not agree with you at first, but they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say.
How can you model authentic Christian faith?
1. Authentic does not equal perfect. Be willing to admit your mistakes. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven?” There is truth in these words. As Christians we need to own up to the mistakes we make. Too many Christians come off as judgmental because they don’t let others learn from the mistakes they make.
2. Authentic does not mean you won’t wound people. We are sinners who are saved by grace. We make mistakes. If this happens, recognize it and seek forgiveness when you have wronged someone (this may look weak to the world, but it is incredibly freeing.)
3. Authentic means seeing yourself as you actually are. Take an honest assessment of yourself and see what you can improve. Be honest. Write it down. Commit to pray over it and ask yourself how you can do better. Does your life demand an explanation?
4. Authentic means you give yourself room to grow. You aren’t there yet and that’s ok. Recognize that you are a work in progress that will not be made complete until the day you stand face to face with Jesus. Your whole life is about moving forward and growing. Embrace that and share your journey with others.
5. Authentic requires someone to help you. Don’t try to go it alone! You need help on your journey. Everyone needs someone to come alongside and walk through life with them. It may be your spouse, it may be a friend. Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two. You need someone who you can be authentic with and show the real you, with all your scars, bumps, and bruises.
6. Authentic means you are someone people can relate to. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. That means you can’t just go out and say “churchy” things. People need to see that you are a real person with struggles just like them. Authentic Christianity shows them how to deal with those things.
7. Authentic means you take a stand. Love God, but hate sin. Call it like you see in the light of what the Bible teaches. You may have to say homosexuality is wrong and abortion is murder. You may have to condemn evil when you see it. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the people who sin. Jesus did. He died for all sinners, which is every one of us. He also took a stand.
8. Authentic means you leave a legacy. Your children know what you stand for. Hopefully they don’t believe what you believe because you told them too. They believe what you believe because you have lived it out authentically and it has made a difference.
Living a Christian life of authenticity is vitally important. If you don’t care enough about your faith to live it out, how can you ever hope to impact the Kingdom of God and draw people to Jesus?
Take the steps today to make sure that you are living out your faith in an authentic manner.