Redefining Authenticity

In many Christian circles, you will hear talk about the quest for authenticity. It permeates our conversations and thoughts as people do not want to be fake in their walk with the Lord. But my question is simply, “What do you mean by saying you want to be authentic?”

Being authentic is usually defined as: “not false or copied; genuine; real,” or “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself” That means to be an authentic follower of Jesus, we do things that align with our beliefs. Our actions represent our true nature as a believer without feeling fake. We often use phrases like “be real” or “real life” to demonstrate the concept. A person who is willing to share their struggles in their faith is authentic and being real with us.

There is an ugly flipside that I have seen emerge from this movement for authenticity. Some Christians are unwilling to do certain activities because they can feel fake. If you are an introvert and you push yourself toward people, then you are not authentic to the way God created you. If it feels unnatural to be a part of a Church community, then don’t be fake and force yourself to attend. If it hints of feeling fake, then I am not going to participate, because I would not be authentic.

My quest today is to challenge you to redefine authenticity to include this one concept. Being authentic also means that I act in ways that produce who I want to become. If I really want to be this one type of person in the future, then I am going to have to do things that feel fake now.

This is always easiest to illustrate with the human body. If I genuinely want to be healthy and fit a year from now, that means I will need to do things today that feel fake or inauthentic. I must get up and exercise when I don’t want to do it. I need to eat healthy even when I don’t feel like doing it. My actions now may seem inauthentic to my feelings but not to the person I am trying to become in the future.

I want you to be real and share your life in a way that is not false with the people who follow Jesus. This does not mean that everything will feel right at the moment. To achieve what I authentically want in the future, I may need to do things that feel fake right now. Doing the right thing each day is the only path to a better future, no matter how you feel about it.

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