I sat down to study on how to change things on my blog – a slightly daunting task at 8 in the morning – and then at 10 I realized I should be writing a Virtue post! Yikes! So here I am, changing my focus for the time being and getting into study mode! I hope you’ll join me as we study Authenticity.
Now, I know that in the Christian set, and others as well, that this can be a bit of a ‘buzz’ word right now. But I want to challenge you to put aside the emotions all that might have created and let the idea settle into your heart and mind. We have been called to be real. We have been called to live life without masks – be they literal ones or affectations. Masks hide who is behind them and show only what others want to see. But the real story, the real treasure, is just beneath if only we have the courage and faith to step out and throw down our masks.
We have been called to not apologize for who we are – but to apologize when we stumble and hurt someone. To be real, to be authentic we need to be able to see our gifts and successes just as well as our failures.
Over the years I have wondered if I was being really me. Or was I being the version of me that I thought those people wanted? For a while I got so caught up in this question that it became a fear for me and I started hesitating on saying what I thought; doing something with someone etc. And then one night, after dinner with a friend we wandered to a bridge over the river and just looked at the stars, the inky flowing water and I realized that I needed to let go of the idea of finding myself and just letting me be. It was one of those very rare times when I felt a burden lift off my shoulders. I realized that it was okay to be silly with one friend and serious with another. Different people bring out different attributes in you. Since then I have asked myself that same question, kind of as a barometer on how I am doing. And as a way to see where I really am emotionally. But through it all, I feel like I have learned that while the outside forces want us to be/look/act in certain ways, we need to keep our eyes set on what our Lord has asked of us – vibrant living in authentic ways.
If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.
- quality of being authentic, genuine
for the purpose of a better understanding, here’s the meaning of Authentic –
synonyms- “genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation. Authentic carries a connotation of authoritative certification that an object is what it is claimed to be: an authentic Rembrandt sketch. Genuine refers to objects or persons having the characteristics or source claimed or implied: a genuine ivory carving.”
Col. 3:5-10 – “Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); for it is because of these things that God’s anger is coming on those who disobey him.True enough, you used to practice these things in the life you once lived; but now, put them all away – anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk. Never lie to one another; because you have stripped away the old self, with its ways, and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator.”
2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!”
1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world – the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life – are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.”
Most of us have heard these verses before. The old us is gone and now we are new! I want to add to that idea in the sense that, in being new, we have help in laying down our human desire of pride – trying to cover up any failures we think we see in how we look or in our personalities. Our new selves are to grow ever closer to Messiah.
2 Thes. 1:11-12 – “With this in view, we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill by his power every good purpose of yours and every action stemming from your trust. In this way, the name of our Lord Yeshua will be glorified in you, and you in him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”
Rom. 12:2 – “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”
Phil 1:27 – ” Only conduct your lives in a way worthy of the Good News of the Messiah; so that whether I come and see you or I hear about you from a distance, you stand firm, united in spirit, fighting with one accord for the faith of the Good News,”
James 5:12 – “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Once we put off our old selves – the one that wants to lie to get out of a task at work; the one that nags her family; the one that constantly wants more clothes/shoes/etc – it’s gone completely right? We are free of those selfish desires! HA! I truly wish so, but no, it is really a daily laying down of the selfish pride and a daily choosing to follow Him who has ‘every good purpose for you’ and can transform us so we know the truth of God’s love and guiding us.
Praise Him that we are not alone in this daily struggle! Right there in Philippians, Paul exhorts the people to stand together and in one accord for the faith.
1 Peter 3:3-4- “Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear; rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.”
Ahhh, this verse. Raise your hand if you’ve heard teachings about this verse from both sides. One side says women should not wear anything fancy – and the other…. I had some friends who were not allowed to cut their hair, wear jeans, makeup etc. The problem in that came that they weren’t taught proper modesty – it was forced on them is such a strong way. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with this verse, it just makes me sad to see the second part of the verse basically disregarded because the focus is on the first part! It is to be our spirit that we are to spend time on, for that is what God sees as valuable. Tending to our hearts is of greater import than our hair or makeup.
Prov. 31:30 – ” Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.”
And in that tending, we will be preparing ourselves for the rest of our life! My red curly hair will eventually turn gray, in fact it already has started. My eyes will grow weak and my strength will be limited, not that it’s not right now (!) but if i tend the ‘garden of my heart’ regularly, I shall still be worthy of praise.
Matt. 10:29-31 – “Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You know that feeling when you get in the midst of a crowd? That little nagging feeling that you could disappear and no one would notice? Perhaps you get that feeling even when you’re alone -but you know the wonderful truth? God knows exactly where you are. He knows what you’re going through and how many hairs are on your head. amazing.
Eph. 2:10 – “For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.”
Ps. 27:1-4- “By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple.”
I LOVE these verse. All David is focused on is living in the house of Adonai. Seeing Adonai. Visiting his temple. He is not afraid of outside forces coming to do him harm because he knows the Lord will protect him.
Here are some extra verses for further study:
Ps. 34:1-22 ; Joshua 1:1-18 ; John 16 ; 1 Cor. 12:12-27
Of course, being authentic is not an easy thing! But what’s the saying of nothing worth having comes easy? Authenticity comes from knowing who you are in Him and being confident and secure in that knowledge. Have you been around someone who is quietly secure in who they are? I am blessed to know several ladies who fit that description and just by knowing them I have been able to ‘grow’ in who I am. Not only does God use His word to teach us, but He graciously puts people in our lives as well! Just by knowing these ladies more, I have thought more and more on being an authentic wife, daughter, sister and friend. I challenge you to do the same! And if you don’t have a friend who encourages you to be authentic, I suggest you become that friend for others!
And here’s a little printable for you friends