Many years ago, on a whim, I bought a gold ring that was inset with diamonds for just $19! “Jerry, I’m shocked that you would trade in stolen goods.” No, I didn’t. It was cheap knock-off, obviously not real gold, the ‘diamonds’ were probably chips of glass. From 6 feet away, who could tell? Up close, you didn’t have to be a jeweler to tell it was something less than a quality piece. I wore that ring for while as a daily lesson in spiritual growth, a reminder to be REAL! There are plenty of imitations in our world. A knockoff is a cheaply made copy of the original. What kind of person are you?
Real people are like authentic gems; precious. You might be wondering, “Real people? What other kind are there? Fake people?” In fact, there are plenty of people who live as empty shells, images without substance, hiding the truth about themselves behind titles, tales, suits, and surgeries. To one degree or another, every one of us deals with the temptation to play a role, to be who we think someone else wants us to be. Alas, there are some who spend an inordinate amount of time and energy working hard to be somebody they are not, in a vain attempt to win the affection of people they don’t even like.
Authenticity is a quality of character that every disciple of Jesus should desire. We love Him best and find His love richest when we are humble, able to be no more, nor less than the person He created us to be. Don’t confuse ‘real’ with crude or rude. Some people are obnoxious, saying whatever comes to mind, refusing social grace, and claiming – “I just being real.” What a mistaken notion of authenticity. Real people love, cry, find joy where they are, admit their mistakes, and love to learn every day.
Jesus reserved his most harsh criticism for some religious people of His time who tried very hard to ‘look better’ than they actually were. He called them out as hypocrites. When He interacted with the Pharisees, who were experts in looking good while doing bad, He did not spare their feelings. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” (Matthew 23:23-4, NLT) “You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” (Matthew 23:26-27, NLT) Just reading those words we can miss the tone in which He spoke them. He was outraged that they would devalue the things of His Father with a show of piety unmatched by true devotion. We need to make that personal, asking ourselves if we have allowed ourselves to be ‘fake’- better at pretending than being.
Hey, we all are tempted to think something like this, some of the time. ‘If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.’ Honestly, that is true sometimes. In our ‘cancel culture’ there will be those who decide your friendship is unwanted if you do not say the words they think you ought to say. There are some who like to focus on the failures of others, regardless of repentance, consigning those mortals to the trash heap of life. Real people, those who are humble and authentic, acknowledge this – “But for the grace of God, there go I!” They, like their Father, believe in redemption.
Refuse to believe that your personal worth comes from being some ideal shape, having a pretty face, a sweet place, or a big brain. Nobody is too fat, too thin, too dumb, too ugly, too shy, too tall, too short, too poor, too damaged – to be a precious child of God. When we accept that, by faith, something happens on the inside that lets us be at home in his own skin. It’s great to be around that kind of authenticity.
Have you convinced yourself that you need to be ‘just like _____________’ (you fill the name of someone you admire) in order to be valuable to God. Wrong. The Bible is clear that you are a person God made to fill a specific place in this world. Nobody can be you and you cannot successfully become somebody else! If we refuse His gifts and callings, and choose to pretend, to fake it; we sin against Him. When we deal with the hurt, pain, failure, and disobedience not by covering it up, but rather by owning it and taking it to the Cross, the Christ who forgives also restores hope, and gives healing. There is no greater source of security than knowing we are God’s beloved, with a divine purpose to fulfill right where we are!
On this Monday morning, let God love you to reality. He knows the ‘real’ you.
Got some sins dogging you? Confess them without excuse. He always forgives.
Have some area of deep insecurity about yourself? Pray about it, and talk it over with a trusted friend. You will gain freedom.
Hiding your light, insisting that your ‘gifts’ are something less than those of another? Stop that and thank God for giving you the opportunities that come your way today.
Here is a word from the Word. “But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, while other parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-24, NLT)
Real is a beautiful thing – truly!
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