Monday, March 4, 2024

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of Authenticity

Monday, March 4, 2024

Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of Authenticity 

It is a horrible feeling when we believe something or someone to be authentic, only to find out that they are not. We have probably all spent money on a product that was promised to produce results it never could or turned out to be very different than portrayed. When a person pretends to be authentic, we want to believe that they are safe and true to their word. We might even become vulnerable with them only to find out they are not at all who they seemed to be. 

As Christ followers, it is important for us to live authentic lives in this world. When we do not, we are not representing Jesus well to a world that is waiting to find fault and point out that we are not who we say we are. We will fail at times because we are human, and there is no way around that. But we should always seek to represent Jesus and His kingdom by living authentic lives. Part of being authentic is knowing and admitting our faults and weaknesses instead of pretending to be perfect to a broken world. When broken people see us as we are – broken and redeemed by Him - they will be open to what we say.

How should authenticity characterize a person who walks in The Jesus Way?  

If we are stewarding or life well and walking the Jesus Way, then everything in our lives will point towards God and glorify Him. In everything we say, do, and the way we live our lives in every area, we will be authentically living a life that glorifies Christ and not ourselves. This is how we walk authentically in The Jesus Way. 

The only truly authentic life is one lived in Him. Any other life, for reward from others and not God, is the very opposite of authentic. Jesus talks about fasting in this passage because it was an example that they would understand. Fasting was a religious discipline for the Jewish people. The Pharisees fasted twice a week and often they would purposefully make themselves look sad so others would know they were fasting. They were basically saying, “Look at me, I am so religious because I am fasting,” looking for the praise of men. When they received the praise from men that they were seeking, that is all the reward they would get. When we seek the praise of men, our reward ends there. When we receive a reward from God, it is eternal. Jesus warns us against doing our own private spiritual disciplines in front of others. When we do this, we are not glorifying God with our lives, but are seeking to bring attention to ourselves for the praise of men. 

We can show up to church, serve, teach, go on mission trips, and still not be living authentically for Jesus. Doing all these things is just going through the motions – they are works. They are no substitute for an authentic relationship with Jesus, which then manifests into an authentic life. Being in church and doing all the things does not make us authentic Christians. In order for us to use our influence well for the kingdom, we must remember how not to use it, and to live with authentic integrity, character, moral purity, graciousness, and truthfulness. Only when others see authenticity, vulnerability, and truthfulness in our lives will they believe the good news we have to share. 

The authenticity in our spiritual lives begins when our heart is transformed by Jesus, and we begin to live that transformation outwardly walking the Jesus Way. Walking the Jesus Way because we have honestly experienced this transformation and are growing in a relationship with Him will show authenticity in every area of our lives. 

Authenticity begins when we yearn for a deep relationship with Him. When we truly desire that relationship and are transformed because of it, we cannot be anything but authentic before others. It consumes every part of our being. 

This week take a close look at your heart – what are your spiritual disciplines and what are your motives for doing what you do?  

 Does your private life and your public life match up? 

What changes need to be made in your spiritual disciplines to ensure they are authentic?

Are you pursuing God with a heart that seeks His glory or your fame? 



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