Living the Authentic Life

I looked up the definition of “authentic” because it’s a word we hear often regarding the way we should live our Christian lives. Here’s what dictionary.com has to say:

“authentic- adj.

  1. not false or copied; genuine; real
  2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified
  3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy”

In the last two meanings, the Christian faith is certainly authentic. It has been proved by various people and resources, and is very reliable. But the other kind of authentic is what I was thinking of.

What does that mean?

What does it look like to live an authentic faith? I’ll tell you what it does not look like.

Three teenage girls sat in the youth room of the church one Wednesday afternoon. The main building was being used for a kids’ program, and all 3 girls were waiting for that to end.

“Have you heard about what Katie did to me?” Karissa asks. “I thought she was my best friend, but apparently not. She started spreading rumors about me, and then denied it to my face. THEN she started texting Kyle just because she knows I’m still upset with him for breaking up with me. And she calls herself a Christian.”

Tears ensue and the three girls sit and talk for the next half hour.

True story. How do I know? I was there. Names have been changed, but Katie, Kyle, and Karissa really do go to my youth group. It’s easy at first to say, “wow Katie was really horrible and sure wasn’t living out her faith.” True. Katie didn’t behave like Karissa’s sister in Christ, but Karissa was also at fault. So often we forget about the “little sins” like the gossiping that Karissa was doing, or the listening to gossip that the other girl and I were doing. If we authentically love Jesus, we won’t backstab or gossip or spread rumors about others.

Here’s another story.

After church one Sunday, a group of teens decided to head to their local Triple-X Rootbeer resturant for lunch. With such a big group, the cashier and cooks were curious where they were from, and one mentioned they were from a church youth group, just chillin together. The cashier and cooks said that was cool and proceeded to ring up and serve the food. After they finished their meal, one of the guys asked a waiter where we could put a tip, and he pointed out the tip jar. Every single one of the teens individually tipped the employees, the amounts ranging from 50 cents to $5. The cashier, waiter, and cooks all stood dumbfounded, watching it happen and said, “that’s so cool you guys, no one has ever done that before. Thanks a lot.”

This youth group was able to show the employees what being a Christian is all about–love. I have to wonder if after they closed up shop and counted tips if they couldn’t help but remember that big group of church kids. This is what living authentically is all about. If someone is in need, help them. If someone cuts in front of you, let them. If you recieve help from someone, thank them.

My personal application looks something like this… It’s been hitting me a lot about how people know I’m a Christian, but I’m rude, I gossip, and I don’t (always) tip people. What do those around me (especially people at work) think when they see me behaving just like everyone else, when they know I’m a Christian? Where is my focus when I’m gossiping, jumping on someone’s case, or being bossy? It’s on me, what I can gain from the situation, or how I’ve been hurt instead of on Jesus, what He’s done for me, and how He can be glorified. I’ve found that reading my Bible at night, and a book like Do Hard Things in the morning helps me re-focus on Jesus and what HE wants from me every day.

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June 2, 2008. Lessons from God.

2 Comments

  1. Kole replied:

    I had a Question. Are you “Karissa”?

  2. Anna replied:

    no, I’m not. 🙂 I just sat there and listened, which, really, is still sharing in gossip

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