Authenticity versus Platitudes and Pat Answers
In last week’s post, I shared how I’d fallen and couldn’t get up. Not physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When a number of you responded, I was touched by your vulnerability.
Why, I wondered, did this particular post invite such heart-felt comments? And then I knew. We identify with each other’s weaknesses, don’t we? I constantly stand in awe of more accomplished writers. But I can’t say I identify with what got them where they are. When they share their struggles, I’m right there with them.
Why do you think Christianity gets such a bum rap in our world today? Perhaps one of the reasons is our need to be more authentic. We want to live out a winsome faith. But all too often we resort to platitudes and pat answers. If the world could get past our words and see into our hearts, perhaps they’d be more open to our faith.
This idea compels me to ask myself these questions. If someone could see into your heart, what would they see? Would they see fear, doubts, apathy? What about anger, frustration or unforgiveness? Oh, and what about pride? I admit I’ve harbored all these characteristics at one time or another. How then can I be authentic without nullifying my faith?
Jay and I served in a full time ministry for 36 years. From the beginning, we made a conscious effort to focus on the Lord and family above ministry. Psalm 90:17 became our prayer for the girls. “May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.”
When the world looks at us, do they see what we’re attempting to do for God? Or do they see what God is doing in and through us? There’s a big difference, isn’t there? How do we live out authentic faith? Perhaps it would help if we raise our level of expectation. Are we expecting God to show up in our everyday lives? Are we expecting to be surprised by Him at every turn?
Oswald Chambers says, “This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle—we must be spiritually real.”
When we’ve fallen and can’t get up, let’s look around and see who else is on the ground with us. And then we can look up together. How? We can try to pull ourselves up by our own proverbial bootstraps. Or, we can look expectantly to the One who’s promised to lift us up in due time. (I Peter 5:6)
When the struggle seems endless, what can we expect from God? “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” I Peter 5:10
Meanwhile, the world is watching! Do they see the façade of our religious endeavors? Or have we allowed them to look into our hearts? Sure, they’ll see our weaknesses. But, what if they catch a glimpse of God’s work in progress? Our authenticity may help them to consider how much God loves and cares for them. That would make it all worthwhile, wouldn’t it?