Paul reminded us that it isn’t about us. We don’t have to perform for the world to get their attention. We don’t need to pretend to our fellow believers that we have everything under control. All we have to be is authentic. It is through authenticity that Christ ministered to others. Who He said He was, He is. Jesus never tried to create an atmosphere of bells and whistles in order to get the attention of those around Him. He was just real.
NewLife can we be real too? When we come together, can we be authentic with each other? Is it possible?
There are two extremes we can so easily fall into which each present as an obstacle to true authenticity.
1. Eeyore syndrome – This is where all we do is point out what is wrong with the world, or tell those around us how we are expecting bad things to happen soon because they “always do”. We begin to see the world and define our lives by the struggles only and not by how Christ met us in those struggles.
And the other extreme is:
2. Social Anxiety – This is where the fear of being judged, seen, watched, or revealed is so strong we avoid sharing anything of substance (scopophobia, scoptophobia, or ophthalmophobia). This category I also call the FaceBook Persona. This is where we only put the good in front of the public. We want the world to see how much we have life together – and dread what would happen if they knew us – or truly saw us.
Both scenarios keep fear in the driver’s seat and leave us disconnected from those we actually long to connect with. Paul wanted people to like him. He wanted to be known and appreciated, to be judged favorably. Yet, Paul didn't change who he was out of fear of not being liked, or judged. He kept his eyes on being real and being true to Christ and the Gospel.
Jesus did the same thing. He was the same yesterday, today and will be tomorrow. He is authentic in all circumstances – with all people.
NewLife, can we be authentic with our brothers and sisters? Can we walk the talk of being real in order to be known? We should not ignore the difficulties, but let us not make them the sole focus of our lives. It is okay to talk about the good too, but let us not avoid being real out of fear. Fear is one of the enemy’s greatest tactics. If he can make us afraid of other people judging us, we will never connect to others, we will stay isolated, and we will always believe we are being judged by those around us. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Let us embrace our humanity (not to give into the flesh, but to know that obedience is expected of us, not perfection) and look to God for His strength. Life is not about us – it is about Christ.