And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
I’ve been giving my Christian journey and growth a lot of thought. Do you ever go there? Do you ever question the authenticity of your identity in Christ? I’m not talking about asking if you know or believe in Him, but I’m referring to your actions, your thoughts your ability to acclimate the Word to your life experiences.
I’ve been reading “Not A Fan” by Kyle Idleman and in this book he questions the reader asking the deeper question of the genuineness of our Christian walk. He asks are we casual admires of Jesus or are we deeply committed to following Him, even at the cost of losing everything that “we” hold dearly. As a minister of the Gospel and a confessed Christian I had to really think about that.
Often I tell my husband and closest friends that I have a profound desire as I get older to receive authenticity from relationships. To me this includes transparency; the courage to tell me when I’ve crossed a line or have been offensive as well as the growth to accept honest accountability for my transgressions with reciprocity. There is something refreshing about this type of authenticity. All other relationships though they may have some benefit are what I consider synthetic.
Soooo I have to ask myself, “Is my Christian walk synthetic or authentic?” Certainly I can’t base it upon my service to the Church or the world at large… there are people doing works of kindness who do not profess Jesus to be the Christ. I can’t factor into the question whether I win the award of best attendance on Sunday, if I have my degree in theology, if I preach the Gospel, whether I abstain from drugs and alcohol, if I speak in tongues and prophesy or any other actions I take outside of truly obeying His direction.
Truly Christ desires us to follow Him with deep commitment. Even if the long list of things that I wrote apply to me… WHAT IS THE INTENTION OF MY HEART? Now that’s the real question for me. Do I preach to get noticed or to garner accolades for myself? Am I kind to others because it makes me feel better about myself and cause others to applaud what a blessing I am? Am I doing these things to receive vain glory to myself?
I have concluded that the heart’s intent prioritizes whether or not I’m just performing or whether I am following the path that God has put before me in Christ with a committed heart. Am I authentically committed to fully following Jesus’ lead without considering the risk or the cost or am I a performing according to my personal understanding of what a Christian should look like paying what I deem that it is worth?
I do believe that examining the intent of our hearts will separate the authentic from the synthetic relationship.