Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Fake Is Not Faith

At church, we look around and may think all those people in the seats around us are holy, spiritual, and wise. They never use bad language, over-indulge at a party, get really mad at their spouse, yell at their kids, complain about their jobs, or watch junk on TV.

Take a closer look. Each and every person sitting in those seats is human and has as many temptations, weaknesses, and personality flaws as you.

If you come to church with this illusion, take the blinders off. If you come to church and try to create this illusion about yourself, take the mask off. The only way we can truly know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ is to be who we really are and let it show.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5 (NIV)

There is always room for improvement and the pursuit of Godliness should be a key part of everyone’s life, but there is no room for “perfect Christians” in our church. That’s because they don’t exist this side of Heaven.

Following is an excerpt from a post in the blog of Holly Pelz (used with permission):

…I’ve gone almost my whole life feeling like a failure of a Christian. I always understood my spiritual success to be measured by an unspoken set of rules, and if I did ABCD, I’d be considered a good Christian.

I knew everything about how to appear Godly — how to act, how to worship, pray, respond with “God” answers, etc. I wanted to fit in with the Christian community, but somehow never felt good enough. Eventually, this false me took over completely and I lived in it fully, deceiving even myself at times.

In this existence, I always experienced a significant amount of spiritual envy. I looked at the people around me, wondering what the secret was, how they could be experiencing God so intimately. And I lived with fear. Fear that people might see right through me.

And now ... I’m done. The façade of “everything being great, I’ve got it together, I’m a really spiritual person, etc” is exhausting. For the first time in my life, I believe I’m experiencing freedom in Christ, freedom from guilt and freedom in who I am. ... My time with God might be a little unconventional, I might go through phases where I feel like an inconsistent mess, and I WILL make mistakes — but it’s okay. I’m okay.

At church (and with church friends), more than any other place, we need to be real and seek authenticity in others. If people are putting you on a pedestal, you only have one way to go: down. If you are admiring or idolizing some “spiritual giant” you will surely be disappointed.

1 Timothy 6:6 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (NIV)

As we open our lives up and let God’s light shine on it for others to see, they will be more inclined to reciprocate. Timothys will ask for guidance and Pauls will freely offer wisdom as Christ-centered friendships emerge.

Mistakes and failings make us "experts” in helping others avoid the same pitfalls. Only then does the Lord see us as genuinely seeking holiness. That is the measure of real faith and the beginning of spiritual freedom.

Copyright © Diane Markins. Used by permission.

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