Authenticity is a massive buzzword in today’s society and for really good reasons; people don’t like fake. We want to surround ourselves with people that we can trust; people who are real, not phoney and false. Authenticity is a key building block to genuine relationships.
But often we have taken an overly simplistic view of authenticity. What does it mean to be authentic? And more specifically for a Christian, what does it mean to be an authentic Christ follower?
A common misrepresentation occurs when we define authenticity in terms of individuality. “I’m just being me. This is who I am.” We can’t use it as a justification for individualism or selfish expression. Yes, we want to be able to accept ourselves and embrace our unique personality and passion. But let’s be honest, “me just being me” isn’t always great for myself or those around me. True authenticity must have an object. So, we are asked the question, “what am I being authentic to?”
I would like to propose that the object of Christian authenticity is Christ-likeness. It is the created engaging with the Creator. It is true identity. The power of this thought is that we have in Jesus both a purpose and a process for authenticity. The purpose is to bring the light and life of God to the world and the process is humility. A Christian defines authenticity in terms of humility, not individuality. Christian authenticity allows you to be different from everyone else based on your deep convictions of who Jesus is, what the Bible says, and how he wants you to live. But doesn’t seek to impose these values on people who don’t yet have a revelation of Jesus. It is accepting of others and positions you to demonstrate unconditional love. Christian authenticity allows you to openly acknowledge your mistakes and shortcomings without diluting your passion and desire to follow Jesus. It allows you to be emotionally connected and aware. Christian authenticity provides a strength and certainty of behaviour that isn’t based on your environment. You act more consistently in the workplace, your home, at parties and social gatherings and at church. This type of authenticity is both incredibly attractive and sometimes misunderstood, it’s a true representation of Jesus.
My encouragement to us all is commit wholeheartedly to a life of authenticity, based on our desire to follow Jesus and walk in humility. This is true authenticity. The apostle Paul puts it this way in Philippians chapter two:
Andrew is on the pastoral team at Nexus Church and attends with Rebekah, his wife and their three children. Andrew loves seeing how God transforms people's lives. He enjoys drinking coffee and mountain biking, although not usually at the same time.