“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
– Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)
Authenticity is one of the buzz words we hear time and again. People want to “keep things real.” We crave what is honest and true in life. We all want authenticity.
This got me thinking. How would life look if we truly put Christ at the center of every aspect? If, before we spoke or acted, we considered Jesus first and foremost. What impact would we have if Jesus was more important than how we appeared to others, how our homes look, what cars we drive? What if Jesus Christ is where we found our status, our meaning, our fulfillment?
If we truly believe in Jesus Christ – not the historical fact that he existed or the moral belief that He was a good man / teacher / prophet / leader, but believe that Jesus is God incarnate and God, Who existed before all time, space and matter, is Reality itself – then it is Jesus Who must truly define us. That is good news for any believer who suffers from either low self-esteem or an overabundance of self-esteem.
What I do does not define who I am.
My past does not define who I am.
My station in life – in and of itself or in comparison to anybody else – does not define who I am.
My job, my income, my neighborhood… none of this stuff defines who I am.
What others say about me does not define who I am.
If we are truly seeking authenticity – if we truly desire authentic relationships and meaning in our lives – we find it not in our accomplishments or failures, not in flimsy small talk or isolation. We find meaning and depth and all that is truly Good (with a capitol “G”) in God through Jesus Christ. It is when we live our lives intentionally following Christ, caring not for the opinions of others or our place in society (whatever your social circle may be) that we “make it real.”
Mary got it. Martha missed it. Martha was so busy impressing that she missed what was important. Sitting at the feet of Jesus first, then serving. By putting Christ at the center, we avoid the dangers of vanity and puffery and ego that come with the baggage of being flawed human beings. We will care more about the hearts of the people around us than in impressing. Christ will bring together and develop the relationships that are authentic and bear good fruit.
If each of us could only live secure in the knowledge of our definition of self as found in Jesus Christ, not the false sense of self that stuff and station brings, how radically different would our churches be? Or our homes or work places? How much better would each of us be able to impact the lives of others for Christ if we could just clear this self-junk from our lives?
So… what does it look like to be authentic in Christ? How do we live the real life? First, study Scripture – prayerfully, intentionally, seeking what God has to say about how to live, how to (re)act, what to do, what to say… Second, do it. Third, keep doing it. Stay prayerfully focused on Christ and you will be amazed at the revolution of authenticity in your life.