In our student ministry, we are beginning the year by looking at what it means to be truly authentic in our walk with the Lord. Come alongside us as we seek to build up passionate Believers who are authentic in every part of their relationship with God.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
During the first installment of Midweek in 2022, we played one of my personal favorite games that we’ve played in our student ministry: Headline News: Real or Fake? The simple task given to the player is to decide whether the headline read aloud is real, or completely made-up. Some of the headlines given, as crazy as they sound, are true – which makes the game a difficult one at times.
Behind the fun of the game, there is a larger lesson at play.
For every Believer, we have to at some point decide – is our commitment to growing in our relationship with the Lord going to be real or fake?
The truly committed Believer in Christ must instill a mindset that glorifies the Lord and impacts life daily. There are two initial truths that we must recognize as Believers when thinking about our Gospel authenticity.
We must live differently than the world.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” -Philippians 2:4-5 (ESV)
This begs the simple question: would someone be able to tell you apart from a non-Believer? When we confess our trust in Christ, this changes and transforms every part of our being. This is a great calling to live differently.
Yes – that means posting differently on social media (which we’ll get to next week). Yes – that means approaching daily tasks differently. Yes – that means letting go of worldly pleasures that might be allowed but not exactly beneficial. This is incredibly important to instill in our students today, but how are we to instill this truth if we first do not exemplify that?
The best part is when we give our whole self to the Lord that we live so differently that we shine like stars in the sky! People see that. People notice that.
We must live pure before the Lord.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4 (ESV)
Like the passage referenced from Philippians, we must be drawn to repentance daily before the Lord. We must understand each day how much we should be reliant on the Lord for our daily wisdom, strength, and ability to withstand temptation before us.
His kindness, not his judgment nor shame, leads us to repentance. Part of being real and being authentic is actually striving for purity before the Lord. To translate: if we seek to be real with our Heavenly Father, it will be much easier for us to be real around others. The good news, however, is that even when we fail at that, He will be patient with us, He will be kind to us.
To sum things up, if someone who needs Christ was to see you now, would they see a Believer who is living authentically for Christ, or would they see someone who puts on the religious show without actually living differently?
Discerning the answers here is much like the game we played. The main difference is, it is real life – and it is much easier to tell the real from the fake.