Dr. Phil coined the term "Get Real!" when he did a series of shows on Oprah a number of years ago. I admit, I watched a few of them. Well, maybe more than a few! In each show he would dramatize someone's need to look at themselves clearly, see their own flaws, and take strides toward fixing them. It would be all wrapped up neatly within the hour with the assurance that the guest would seek the help they needed and set their sights on a better life. Dr. Phil, of course, was the hero.
During the last 15 years, since I became a follower of Jesus, and especially in the years I've spent in music ministry, I have realized the many ways we Christians are not at all "real". We wear finely crafted masks to cover true feelings; we veil gossip ever so subtly behind statements like, "We need to pray for her!"; we say one thing and yet do another. In reality, we have many of the same flaws within the walls of the church, as parts of the body of Christ, as those outside. And I put myself at the top of the list. It is a daily struggle for me to "Get Real" with fellow believers.
"The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7b
For the most part, I think we work with the assumption that people don't want to see us as we really are. It's much more comfortable to hide our failings, our inner thoughts, and put on the face we think is more attractive. "How are you?" really doesn't mean that, does it? It usually means, "Say you're fine so I can pass by and do what I was heading to do in the first place." Am I right?
When we hide ourselves in the fellowship of believers we begin and perpetuate a cycle of dishonesty which eventually leads to isolation and loneliness. I'm sure we've all felt alone in the midst of a crowd. That feeling is magnified when it's among brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we should be able to be open and transparent. If it is true that in Christ we are new creations, yet we still have to struggle daily with this thing we call "humanness" and the sins of our nature, then realizing that we are all in the same boat brings such freedom! There is no need for masks if we accept (and expect) one another's failings and allow others full view of our own.
The biggest obstacle to authenticity in the Christian life is perfectionism. I was a perfectionist long before I was a Christian and I find it very difficult to shed the "old" (perfectionism) even in the presence of the "new" (Jesus). Do you remember that bumper sticker, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"? That should be plastered on the front of every church! That phrase is not just for the unchurched, to make them see us Christians in a more positive light. It is for those of us in the church who think that we must put our best face on everytime we walk in the building! We are all "cracked pots", yet, miraculously, we hold the water of life. We shouldn't hide the fact that we are merely clay, but instead shout, "I am not perfect, but my God is!"
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Cor. 4:7
- Do you find that you struggle to be authentic?
- What steps have you taken to overcome this battle?
- Find three scriptures that you can profess daily to become more in line with the "Real" you that God designed you to be.
Christine can be found daily at her personal blog: