I believe that there is great value in being authentic. People speak of the “real McCoy’ or of the “real deal” or gush over “an original” as having an intrinsic value simply because it is genuine. I have come to believe that whatever you are in God it is better to be one hundred percent yourself than to pretend to be someone else. This, of course, is easier said than done because much of Christianity wants believers to fit into their various stereo-typical notions of what their denomination believes. However, I think that when we fit into someone else’s mold we lose some or a lot of what makes us unique and special before God and man.
Normative Christianity desires to bring unity, not through the Spirit, but through the top down force of their doctrinal statements of faith. There is little room for individualism when it comes to their theological framework. Indeed, in some denominations, you must agree to believe a certain set of doctrines to even fellowship with them. If you do not, or if you at some point start to disagree with their “core beliefs” then you are politely or “not” so politely asked to take your leave and fellowship elsewhere. To many, such coercion is very difficult to resist. We all want to be part of something and even if we give up what makes us authentic we often times do so in order to gain acceptance and “fit in”.
I believe that God champions our uniqueness and wants us to become who we really are in Him. He desires to reveal Himself through us authentically. The truth is, people respect what is real and value it simply because, at least in religious circles, there is so little of it. If you dare to be different, to be what God leads you to be, then the impact of your faith will be multiplied and reinforced by the integrity of who you are. People may not understand you or know what to do with you, but they will respect you for having the audacity to simply be yourself.
Many Christian leaders talk a lot about submission and following their particular brand of theology. However, where is the talk about submitting to God Himself? Are we not supposed to be led by the Holy Spirit and to submit to the very God who called us unto so great a salvation? Does submitting to God really mean submitting to men?
Obedience to your church elders presupposes that they are obedient to God. If they are, submitting to the Holy Spirit in them is proper up to a point. Church authority is not intended to be a cart blanch license to control what God does with you. You stand before God and He must always remain the supreme authority in your life.
Personally, I believe that God’s sheep hear His voice and another’s they will not follow. Consequently, if I hear my Father’s voice when someone is speaking I will listen. It does not matter who they are or what position they may hold because, as God’s sheep, I recognize who is really speaking through them. Conversely, when I don’t hear my Father’s voice nothing resonates with my spirit and I don’t really care what they have to say. This is where being authentic comes in to play. If we are true to how God made us we will be authentic regardless of what other people do or say. Others will hear what we have to say, not because they have to, but simply because God is saying it through us.
Lastly, be who you are in God and resist the temptation to be someone else to please anyone else. Do not fear those who spout scripture with pompous arrogance, but rather simply be the Christian God wants you to be according to the faith that is in you. The truth is that real people are looking for authenticity and if you want to have a lasting impact on your life and others just be yourself.
Suggested music “Asleep in the Light” by Keith Green
Suggested book “Hudson Taylor (Men of Faith) by J. Hudson Taylor