November 4, 2009
How authentic do we really want to be or do I really want you to be? Do you really want to know that right before the service on Sunday, I did the “I am not your slave!” rant picking up random things off the floor that my family left behind?
I think sometimes we see authenticity as rolling out the red carpet of information for all to hear, but in actuality its being real with yourself and with God. David’s prayer in Psalm 139, “Search my heart, O God and know my heart.” When we humble ourselves to ask God to search our motives, we release control and ourselves from being the judge, instead we align our hearts with his voice and not one of condemnation or selfish ambition or even complacency. God places the practice of confession in our lives because he is a safe God, and knows that forgiveness is a process we live out day to day, with him and within our relationships. Not only do we need it from God, but we need to offer it to others and need it from others.
True authenticity is practicing the discipline of confession in one’s life. This authenticity can be found in our friendships when we have it in our relationship with God for that which is inside of us will be reflected in the depth of our friendships; if we’re willing to be real with God then the authenticity will spill over into your relationships. When we have experienced the loving conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we understand the freedom of confession and forgiveness in our relationships.
When I think of the desire to live authentically in my own life, I think of it on several levels. Not only do I want to be a safe person for someone, but I desire to live with a repentant heart that understands the difference between remorse and Godly sorrow. Godly sorrow brings me to the pinnacle of change. Ortberg states in The Life I’ve Always Wanted, “Confession is not just naming what we have done in the past. It involves our intentions about the future as well. It requires a kind of promise.” It becomes a personal vow to live differently because God is a God of grace, not one of rule and judgment.
Phil spoke on Sunday of the Pharisees who would live out their faith in a way that was self-promoting, their hearts full of selfish ambition. Praying so that they’d be seen, showing signs of hunger while fasting, announcing their good deeds on the hillside as to say, “Look at me! I am holy.”
Instead Christ asks us to do just the opposite; our deeds in secret, pray in secret, and fast in secret. I think one of the reasons he asks us not to advertise our deeds is because he knows the temptation to self-promote; he knows when our selfish ambitions creep into our good deeds, it taints the freedom of living and loving others authentically, basically, making it about ourselves, one-upping essentially.
And it’s not about you, and it’s not about me. It’s about living out a gospel of love, grace and truth that brings freedom. Because when we freely live in love and truth, we will automatically be a safe place that draws others to Christ.