Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Authentic (part 4 of 4)

Stepping into the Light of Authenticity

"...if we walk in the Light as he Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another..."  1 John 1:7

Walking in the Light can be both inviting and scary.  Seeing things clearly brings a calming clarity that gives confidence.  Walking in the Light also includes exposure and many have lived too long pretending to be something they are not.  Therefore exposure can be frightening.  The above verse from 1 John teaches us that when we do walk in the Light of Jesus, our relationships with one another will deepen, in part because we are being authentic with Jesus and others.  This also implies that when we are not authentic, our relationship with one another is more surface, shallow and selfish.

My last three posts dealt with the necessity of living authentically, some examples of what living authentically might look like and then I dealt with three rewards and risks of living authentically.  In this post, I want to discuss three suggestions that are needed in order to break free of living disingenuously so you can choose to walk in the Light (1 John 1:7) and be free to both be loved and to love more radically than you may have imagined. 

Suggestion #1 - Be Honest

If we are going to break free from the bondage of living deceptively (disingenuously); that life where you act one way around certain friends but you act differently with others, we must begin with being honest with ourselves and with God.   

"But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being." (Psalm 51:6 NLT). 

God knows what is going on inside your heart.  He knows the truth about you and He knows the lies you may be living.  He knows how desperate you are to be accepted for you and He wants you to receive that joy?. God desires you to become honest with yourself and with Him so that you can be set free and receive His healing in this area of your life.  Why not stop reading this post right now and get on your knees and begin the journey towards authenticity by pouring out your heart to God telling Him your fears, desires and dreams?

Being honest with God may sound fearful, but I assure you it is perfectly safe and life giving.  The God who created you is not threatened by your authenticity, in fact it is His desire to shape you into a 'holy' person (1 Peter 1:14-16) which requires you to notice that some things need to be adjusted in your life.

Suggestion #2 - Be in Community
Once you choose honesty with yourself and God, I suggest you find at least one other person (other than your spouse) whom you already trust or sense you can develop a trusting relationship.  As a deepening friendship is being forged, choose to share your experience of being honest with God, about who you are, what you feel and where you are pretending to be together.  This will launch an amazing conversation and friendship that has the potential to be helpful in your maturing in Jesus.

As trust is developed, begin revealing your heart and the truth about you; your desires, fears, lies, dreams, habits (good and bad), convictions, prejudices etc.  I would also suggest you begin living honestly and authentically in larger groups of people (5-12 or so) but not with the same intimacy.  In this setting, strive to live authentically by not pretending that your life is all together because, if we are being honest, nobody really “has it all together”.  The key here is to build up your ability to trust at the pace God leads you.  Watch as you choose to obey Jesus in authentic living.  Others will certainly follow your example.

Suggestion #3 - Be Humble
Humility is nothing more than obeying the leadership of Jesus in your life.  Humility is taking honest inventory of who you are in presence of God.  Once we acknowledge our daily need for God and His Lordship in our life, we will desire to "...humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time." (1 Peter 5:6).  God wants to raise us up but not until we surrender to His leadership.  Being humble actually causes you to be very powerful in the eyes of others.  There is a deep power that flows out of a humble life.  Humility enhances your authenticity or maybe better stated, authenticity emerges out of your humility.

These three suggestions are pretty simple but not easy.  Being exposed seems very scary and that is understandable.  When we live in a pretend mode or an “I need to be someone else to be accepted” mode, we tend to hide who we really are.  We then become afraid of our weaknesses and may tend to bury them.  These buried weaknesses may not be seen by anyone, but they do have power and that power most often will cripple us from being all God desires us to be and enjoy.  When we choose to unearth our weaknesses and expose them to the Light, we will find forgiveness, acceptance and freedom.  I find in my life when I expose my sins and/or weaknesses to the Light of Jesus in the community of a friend or two, that the power of those sins dissipate and dissolve.  Freedom pours into my life to be who I truly am.  When I live authentically, I find freedom and acceptance and I notice that others are empowered to live in the same manner.  When this happens a sweetness of life emerges.

If you would like a tool that can help guide you to living a more authentic life, check out Life Transformation Groups.