How Authentic Do You Want It


“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses…We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.”2 Corinthians 6:4; 11-13

I have had the pleasure of speaking at Alderson-Broaddus University this week for their “Jesus Week” event. It has been a great time and I always enjoy being called to speak at events like this (shameless plug). Anyway, it’s been an extra great time since I have had my friend, Anthony Mossburg (www.anthonymossburg.com), leading worship for the event too!
Since he was coming in, I asked him to share his talents with my church and do a small concert. He was willing and did a great job…seriously, you need to buy his music and support this guy!
Afterwards, he was able to come over to my house and we stayed up for a little while talking about ministry and his music. He shared how there have been people who had made comments in regards to his lyrical content and questioned his relationship with Jesus. I was hurt for him.
His lyrics are honest. They are raw. They are compelling. They relate to everyone in some way, but they always have a connection with his faith without having to overtly mention Jesus or God. He shares his relationship with Jesus openly and is willing to share it during his concerts as well. He is a guy striving to use his talents to glorify God and be authentic in the process to reach the broken.
Then, we spoke about the struggle the Church has with authenticity.
The truth is, the Church would like to be authentic, but they limit it for protection. They are also threatened by people who are willing to be open about who they are, struggles and successes and everything in between, possibly because they fail to reach that level of transparency.
Maybe it’s because we have a flawed view of authenticity?
We have a lot of restaurants that claim to be “authentic” and we have allowed ourselves to believe the lie. Anthony actually made the point, “It’s like ‘authentic Mexican food’. We know it’s not, but we trick ourselves into believing it.” In fact, we settle for the mirage of authenticity by disguising it with fancy names.
I will take the “’I am blessed’ with a side of ‘I have had my struggles, but the Lord has pulled me through’ and an extra serving of ‘I’ll be praying because God is faithful’ please.”
These words are well and good, but they limit how real we are with each other. What if we said, “‘I am blessed because I am dealing with financial issues, but God is keeping me positive. My struggles are with alcohol and pills to keep me calm because I am hurting, but God will pull through, I have to trust. Will you join me in prayer as my brother/sister in Christ as I deal with this mess? I know God is faithful, but I need the community of believers to trust His faithfulness with me.’”?
We fear that authentic conversation. We fear people talking honestly about their issues. We fear being open about our struggles because it leads us to vulnerability.
Real words being shared require real responses that some can’t handle. So, we hide behind the “authentic faith” when we need to travel to the real place in order to experience the taste of a genuine relationship with Jesus and a community of believers.
There are three questions we have to ask ourselves moving forward:
1) When we say we want authentic relationships, do we mean it?
2) Are we willing to accept people in their realness (I think that’s a word)?
3) Do you want Jesus to be real with you?
May we discover an authentic relationship with Christ. May we discover a true and real connection with other believers. May we be humble enough to realize everyone is broken and have only one healer in Jesus, which means, we are similar and should be willing to be open in our similarity.
Ultimately, may we discover an authentic community in Christ.
Thank you God for revealing yourself and sharing a real story of grace and faith to all of us.
Peace and blessings friends.

QUESTION: Why do you find it hard to experience authentic relationships? Do you have one?
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