Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's Get Real

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1:7

This week we have been focusing on living authentically.  What is an Authentic Christian? Some marks of living an authentic Christian life are:

  • First, an authentic Christian confesses Jesus Christ as Lord (1 John 4:15).
    True Christians should be able to say that Jesus Christ is their Lord.
  • Second, if you are an authentic Christian, you will be unhappy or miserable when you're sinning (1 John 3:9). - This doesn't mean you will never sin if you are a Christian (1 John 1:8). But there is a difference between recognizing that we will fail in some way, shape, or form in the future and going on a willful, continual track of sin. If you really are a child of God, you will have a sense of discomfort when you sin, because you know in your heart of hearts that what you are doing is wrong. 
  •  Third, an authentic Christian enjoys fellowship with other believers (1 John 5:1). - A true Christian will want to be around other Christians. Those who isolate themselves from other believers do so at their own peril, because the Bible tells us that it is important to get together, encourage one another, and correct one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • Fourth, an authentic Christian seeks to obey the commands of Jesus Christ (1 John 5:3). I will not deny that the Bible is filled with so-called rules, but their purpose is not to make our lives miserable. Rather, they protect us from potential harm.  There will always be the struggle between the flesh and the spirit, but as a child of God you will have a greater desire to obey.
  • Finally, an authentic Christian loves and seeks obeys the Word of God (1 John 2:5). You cannot effectively live the Christian life without a love for, and striving for obedience to, God's Word. All true disciples of Jesus Christ will be students of Scripture and will walk according to its teaching. This is vital to authentic Christian living, because the Bible is indeed the very textbook of life (2 Timothy 3:16).
Let’s Get Real
Can we just be real with each other for a moment?  I struggle, we all struggle.  We as Christians need to accept each other’s imperfections, quit putting on masks and be real with each other.  Yes, the world needs to see our humanness and vulnerability so they will not be scared away, but within our own family of believers sometimes we fear the most rejection, and sadly sometimes meet the most rejection and judgment. What will happen if we share our hearts and expose our trials?  We need each other. God was clear about Christians needing fellowship with one another, to support one another and help each other.  Our fellowship with one another needs to be a safe place.  It needs to be a place where we can really be authentic with each other and be loved and accepted just as Jesus loves and accepts us, faults and all.  We need each other to pray for each other and hold each other accountable but also to respond to one another in love when we stumble and fall.  

Living an authentic life is not a life of weakness, but of power in the Holy Spirit. It is not being afraid to be transparent sometimes and admitting that you are not perfect because none of us are.  Being vulnerable is scary.  It could mean rejection or judgment or it could unleash an army of prayers from friends who love us, praying for our healing, protection and restoration.  We can gain new perspectives and find new hope.   Burdens can be lifted and frustration and pain released.  We can be free.  We need a group of trustworthy believers we can share our burdens with and know that they will not later use the information against us. 

An authentic Christian is sad some days, confused some days and ridiculously happy other days.   They live life’s highs and lows and look to Jesus for direction and to help make sense of it all.  They allow others to see their dependence on Him as they fight battles, struggle, and fail in their weaknesses.  They don’t need to pretend perfection because their true authenticity is that Christ is in them and they are in Him.  They can confess and repent but then move on. Our true identity is not our sins but it is in Christ, and He has called us to love one another authentically.

Scripture to Claim:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.  James 5:16

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