Authenticity: a Genuine Virtue for Christians

acts 20 transparency authenticityAuthenticity is a most desired virtue.  However desirable, one rarely sees it in the Church no matter how much we talk about it.  All we end up with is the not-so-close facsimile of “too much information.”

Genuinely authentic people have nothing to hide, but it’s maybe not what you think.

Their lives are transparent because they’ve got a clear conscience and a sure foundation in the grace of God to cover their failures.

Authentic people do not scramble wildly for the nearest excuse. No need to cover their shame.  God already did that.  They know humans are prone to sin, yet forgiveness is possible by God’s grace.  They try to keep from sinning and never parade their flaws as though a display of brokenness is a competitive goal.

In “Has ‘Authenticity’ Trumped Holiness?” the author Brett McCracken asks,

Evangelicalism—both on the individual and institutional level—is trying hard to purge itself of a polished veneer that smacked of hypocrisy. But by focusing on brokenness as proof of our “realness” and “authenticity,” have evangelicals turned “being screwed up” into a badge of honor, its own sort of works righteousness? Has authenticity become a higher calling than, say, holiness?

The Apostle Paul’s final encounter with the Ephesian elders points out how much Paul grasped of a genuine authenticity among the Tiny Virtues for Exemplary Christian Living. He also shows the inescapable connection of transparency to both grace and integrity.

  • Paul authentically displayed his life and character: Acts 20:17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.
  • He taught fully. Acts 20:20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
  • He was open about facing hardship. Acts 20:22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me– the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. 25 Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.
  • His authenticity was on display when he was bold in his preaching and protective in his shepherding. Acts 20:26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
  • His conscience was clear. Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
  • His authenticity in life and in prayer made him all the more loved. Acts 20:36 When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
What holds you back from genuine authenticity, from knowing true grace, and from displaying integrity in all things?

Ponder today: the interconnection between understanding grace and displaying authenticity

Bible characters of the day: Paul and the Ephesian elders

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on September 17, 2016

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply