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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Authentically In Need of a Savior

My friend Alicia, in her new blog "Life as I see it...," is thinking about authenticity today. Why, she wonders, do we live behind masks? She suggests,
I know there may be several reasons. But I think the most pervasive reason is fear. Fear of judgment. Fear of rejection. Fear of conflict. Fear of condemnation. Fear. It is a powerful element in our lives.

But fear does not come from a relationship with God. Jesus taught us that perfect love casts away all fear. And yet, we live in fear and even at times embrace it.

I guess I am at the point in my life where I don't want to live in fear anymore. I want to live an authentic life. I want to take off the masks and tear down the facade.

I believe God came to give us an abundant life. And I don't think the abundant life has room any room for fear. And I am convinced the abundant life is characterized by authenticity.
(Be sure to read her whole post here.)

Alicia's right. Many of us wear masks in fear of all the things that she mentions. Judgment. Rejection. Conflict. Condemnation. But this sort of fear is rooted in pride. In pride I seek the praise of men (and women, and Facebook friends, and bloggers) and fear that my real self is unpraiseworthy.

But there's the rub. I am unpraiseworthy. The truth is that there is nothing praiseworthy about me, even though, like you, I'm desperate for the praise of others.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)
Authenticity is an elusive quality that, like humility, seems to vanish in your hand the moment you feel you've really grasped it. We can only really become authentic and honest about ourselves when we are able to say,
"Help me to humble myself before thee
by seeing the vanity of honour as a conceit of men's minds,
as standing between me and thee;
by seeing that thy will must alone be done,
as much in denying as in giving spiritual enjoyments;
by seeing that my heart is nothing but evil,
mind, mouth, life void of thee;"*
For when I have a correct view of myself, I know that
"I am a dying, condemned wretch,
but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive, and satisfied;
that I am feeble and unable to do any good,
but that in him I can do all things;"*
For a Christian, being authentic is not about being candid or outspoken. Authenticity is not the opposite of reticence, it is the opposite of falsity. Let us understand clearly our need for a Savior. I need Him. You need Him. At the Cross we can put aside our masks (which never fooled God anyway), repent and be made new.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." 
John 10:10

*From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, p. 79.

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