For Real

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A friend referred to Facebook™ as Fakebook. Her remark makes me smile because I know that by carefully posting select images and edited remarks, we can create an image about ourselves that bears little resemblance to reality. Not everyone does it, but the temptation is surely there to create an ‘enhanced’ *(fake) image. With our smartphones we can even digitally alter our pictures to make ourselves look better. Sometimes that is quite harmless but it can become an awful trap, a way to live a lie!

There are people who make their living as Image Coaches. They teach people how to project a public image that leads to better jobs, etc. There is nothing wrong with learning improved social skills, being coached to change habits that hinder our interactions with others. It is a tragic endeavor if a person only works on the outside appearance without dealing with core issues! For some, life is like a movie set.  Consciously, even unconsciously, they adopt whatever role they feel is necessary at a particular moment of life. The reality of their life matters little as long as they know the script written for them by others.

Christian, don’t play that game!
Commit to living AUTHENTICALLY. Why?

God asks His people to be people of integrity. If we choose to appear to be somebody that we are not, we lie! Lying offends God and is terribly destructive. Perpetuating even a little bit of fraud requires increasing effort and more fraud, creating dishonesty that grows with a snowball effect.

Understand that at the root of image-building is an ancient sin – pride. If we go through the day constantly posing and preening like a little girl playing dress up in front of Mommy’s mirror, we will be blind to those around us. We will not listen well. We will not be present and attentive.

The truth will eventually emerge. We cannot conceal our real selves forever. Better to have been real all along, don’t you think? Jesus said that the mouth is the overflow of the heart. Filter it, suppress it, but unless we change from the inside out, eventually we will be shown for who we really are.

Authentic Christians allow the Spirit of God to be in charge, dying to Self, so that ego cannot press them to serve an image. The Word tells us to “…serve each other in humility”, for “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, NLT)

On the night before His crucifixion Jesus’ disciples posing and striving for first place in their little group. Full of themselves and in love with their images of self-importance, none of them would serve, so Jesus got up from the Passover meal and took up the servant’s towel and basin. He made His way from man to man, washing their filthy feet, in the custom of the hospitable household at that time.

His choice to take the place of the lowest, though He was the Greatest, shocked and offended those men. Peter protested, “You will never wash my feet!” But Jesus did. “After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15, NLT) While some believers have turned that into a time of ritual foot washing in their gatherings, I believe that Jesus was inviting to us to something much more important – serving each other without considering whether such service is in keeping with our image!

There is a wonderful healing truth for our world of superficiality and image. It is the assurance that God loves us, not for what we have done or how attractive we may be; He loves us because we are! He knows exactly who you are, what you’ve done, how you think – and loves the real you.  He does desire change and promises the Spirit to transform but He loves us right where we are.

He can work through people who are real. If we are willing to pretend, pose, to live dishonestly, we sabotage the inner work of the Spirit that leads us to Truth. He can forgive our sins, heal our hurts, and give us spiritual gifts that overcome our innate weaknesses. He will maximize our strengths. But, first we must choose to be ‘honest to God’ real; not an easy task, nor a once and done choice. Authenticity flows out of daily surrender to the Spirit of God.

Here is a word from the Word today. James is clear. Let’s listen to his inspired wisdom. “Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.” (James 1:21-25, CEV)

_________

Who You Say I Am

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last
He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who You say I am

(Oh) (Yes) I am who You say I am

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

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