Living an authentic faith: What is it and what does it look like? Well, off the top of my head, it’s living as if your faith actually makes a difference in your life and you share that with others. It’s not perfection where you are able to connect all the dots, it’s not a “holier than thou” attitude but the pursuit of the one to whom you’re learning to surrender, Jesus Christ.
Now, before you say, “Well I do that,” how well do you blend in with the culture around you? Are you a “camouflaged Christ follower?” Is there something different about you that is noticeable? I don’t mean you walk around beating people with the Scriptures, pointing fingers at them, but rather just your presence says you’re different.
In Matthew (5: 14-16) Jesus says, “don’t hide your lamp, don’t hide the light that is yours” (don’t try to camouflage yourself). Too many don’t want to stand out, so they remain part of the world they’ve been rescued from. We are taught to be in the world but not of the world John (17: 14-17). At times that may be difficult, the pull of old habits, ways of thinking, ways of relating are hard to break. But that’s exactly the battle we will have. Paul, in Romans (7: 14-25) says in part, “the things I want to do I don’t, the things I don’t want to do I do.” Until we die this will be the battle that rages, but the hope we have is that the spirit will enable us to overcome as we recognize the battle and surrender it to God. The man we feed is the one that will grow. We sow to unrighteousness, unrighteousness will grow. The more we learn to say no to the temptations, the more glory God gets.
By authentic faith I mean the acknowledgment of these challenges as we go about our daily life — both to ourselves and others around us — as we are given opportunity, that says, “there is this better way, let me tell you about it,” or “can I share this struggle and its victory with you?”
God is drawing people by his spirit to himself and chances are you couldn’t guess who they are. But by the light you have, the confession you possess and the way you are walking out your faith is saying to them “there is a better way, there is a real way to live, there is hope in the faith you have.”
What is the peace of God worth to you? With all that rages around us and is trying to assault us, what’s Gods peace worth? Or better yet, what’s peace with God worth? The answer to the last question is my eternal salvation, simply because we can’t have peace with God without accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ. The answer to the first question is the Lord is now fighting my battles. I’ve surrendered my life to him and he’s now in control of it and by his grace I’m able to bear up under the pressure of whatever circumstance I find myself in. And oh, by the way, if you ask I’ll tell you, “I’m still scared spit-less at times, but the Lord is still in control and I’m choosing to trust him.” This makes no sense to those the Holy Spirit is not working in but everything to those in whom he is. The issue is will they catch the light from you or another? Because it’s at just the right time revelation comes, a crossing of paths so to speak and what seekers don’t want is more of the world that’s left them with empty promises, chewed up, used and abused spirits. Like you, they want peace, hope and a future. Christ in you, the hope of glory.
So, take off the camo, let the white robe of Christ’s righteousness shine as you live in this world and know that living your authentic faith, as only you can, will be and can be, a provision God has within your sphere of influence.
The Rev. Norm Hooven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.