Tag Archives: Christian Authenticity

Take Off the Mask

30 Oct

Many Halloween masks are ugly and grotesque, but some are just strange!

This three-faced mask from Pinterest* made me laugh … and shudder! Strange, right?

StrangeMasks

And that hamburger mask gives new definition to the term “Meathead!”

Some of the “masks” we wear every day are pretty strange too.

Just a few:

  • A drama queen (or king) mask might be hiding a cry for attention.
  • An obnoxious mask might hide an insecure or frightened personality.
  • A cynical mask sometimes hides a lonely, unhappy person.
  • A know-it-all mask can actually hide a person looking for respect.

As a Christian, the mask that bothers me the most – because I often wear it myself – is the PIOUS MASK.

It’s so easy to be a Christian “pretender” when it comes to spiritual growth.

Think about it . . . we masquerade in many ways.

We might mask our lack of time in the Word of God or prayer with ministry to others.

We might mask our nervousness about coming to God with our sins with a busy schedule.

We can mask our failure to walk in the Spirit with a list of rules.

We may even mask our disobedience with sacrificial living.

Our masks might look good to others, but we forget God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). He sees past the masks. He knows who we really are.

Our masks may give us some measure of comfort, but they also hinder true intimacy with God and others.

God wants us to be authentic. We can’t impress the Lord, and He wants us to be real with people. He wants us to live to please Him alone, and not worry about what others think of us (John 12:43; Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Our identity is to be found in Christ and a biblical view of who we are (1 John 3:1-2; Colossians 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:9. We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We rest in His love and forgiveness, not the ever-changing perspectives of the culture.

And when we discover His plans for our lives, we can get busy following Him -obeying and serving Him – instead of worrying about the need to impress people (Ephesians 5:8-10; Colossians 1:10; 3:1-2).

We can come out from behind our masks and shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:16).

Are you trapped behind a mask? How would embracing what God says about you destroy this mask madness?

~ Dawn

* Three-face Mask – Paul Fuller Art (UK)

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Are You Photoshopped?

22 Feb

Photoshopped_byGail_croppedMy friend Gail Andrews once photoshopped a picture of my my husband and me – switching our heads! We laughed and laughed at the silly photo.

Innumerable photoshopped images draw laughter on the internet. The funniest ones are of animals or inanimate objects. An elephant with zebra stripes. Goldfish jumping out of a snoring man’s mouth. A squirrel brandishing a machine gun. A dandelion:  a flower with a lion’s head in the center. A bowl of potatoes with eyes … real eyes!

And then there are the gorgeous models who are photoshopped to unrealistic extremes (and most of the time I like them better in the before pictures). I laughed out loud to see a model with an obviously-photoshopped bustline, but whoever did the photoshopping forgot to photoshop her image in the mirror! I thought, “Who do they think they’re fooling?”

It may be a stretch of an application, but sometimes I think I try to “photoshop” my character – to look better than I am at any given moment. Call it wanting acceptance, or the need for approval … or pride. It’s a hypocritical picture I give to the world, at that point.

God sees the heart; He searches and knows the truth about us (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). So any spiritual “photoshopping” is foolish. As I examine my heart, I wonder how often I have “photoshopped” my spiritual reality.

Why can’t I just be honest and say I’m still “in progress” … broken but partnering with God in my sanctification?

It’s OK to admit I have needs, because I know God will keep working on me until the day I die or Jesus returns for me (Philippians 1:6).

In the meantime, I can best minister when I am authentic, surrendered and obedient.

Ray Stedman wrote about this kind of authenticity in “Living an Authentic Christian Life,” a booklet by RBC Ministries excerpted from the book Authentic Christianity, Discovery House Publishers).

“Authentic Christianity never needs advertisement or publicity,” Stedman said. “It gives off a fragrance and a fascination that attracts people like flies to honey.”

Not everyone will be attracted, obviously. Some people, when face-to-face with authentic Christians, either lash out in hatred or recoil in fear. We shouldn’t be surprised. That’s how some people responded to Jesus.

Stedman says there are five unmistakable marks of authentic Christianity, as described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16):

  • Unquenchable Optimism
  • Unvarying Success (the triumphing of God’s plan in and through us)
  • Unforgettable Impact
  • Unimpeachable Integrity
  • Undeniable Reality (a lifestyle that validates the life of Christ within us)

Stedman adds:  “After listing those marks of an authentic Christian, Paul asks the reader, ‘And who is equal to such a task?‘ (v. 16).” None of us is a consistent role model of the authentic believer.

Our confidence—the source of our authenticity and our sufficiency—is in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

My thought is, how will people in our world see Jesus if we keep photoshopping our faith life instead of allowing the world to see how Jesus changes us, meets our needs, and commissions us for Kingdom duty?

Do you struggle with living an authentic Christian life? Which of the five characteristics of authenticity is weak or missing in your life?

Forget the photoshopping, Friends. Come to Jesus with your needy life and keep it real.

~ Dawn

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