The Joy of Church Connection for Young Believers Day 6: Being Authentic
“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33, ESV)
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, ESV)
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and…be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, ESV)
In our world, authenticity isn’t an easy thing to find. Especially in this age of social media, we are constantly bombarded with images that portray a perfect life, or a perfect body, and it can honestly make us feel like we can’t measure up. What we don’t see are the hours spent behind the scenes editing the pictures and videos to look a certain way, the insecurities that each person inevitably feels, and all the other personal issues they go through. In a world filled with filters, let’s be sources of authenticity to ultimately point others to the One we should emulate—Jesus Christ.
I constantly see retouched images of celebrities and influencers on my own social media feed. As much as we could try and replicate their images, we won’t be able to without a small village to help with hair, makeup, wardrobe, editing, retouching, etc. For me, it has sometimes gotten to the point where I’ve had to unfollow some of these people because it led me to that continuous cycle of comparison. Some of the blame certainly falls on me for spending too much time on social media, but it’s sad how commonplace social media “masks” have become. It’s also sad because I know there are a lot of young people who look up to these famous people and influencers, and I don’t want them to fall into the trap of thinking that standard is what they should chase after.
In a world where it is rare, how are we doing when it comes to being authentic? Do we try and “fit the mold” to be accepted by our friends and peers? If we felt we had to impress our friends, the relationship might not be that deep to begin with (but that’s beside the point for this discussion). It’s exhausting to keep up with the standards of different friend groups we might find ourselves in. We may look, act, and talk completely different depending on who we’re around. It’s not meant to be this way. A verse that challenged me when I was in school and was surrounded by these different expectations from my friends was Matthew 10:33: “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father.” This verse helps me to put everything into perspective—it brings eternity into my mind. If there are moments where I don’t “fit in” while in this world, that’s far better than being denied in a coming day by the Savior.
Being authentic is another way for us to show Christ to the world around us. Our world likes to warp the truth and mold it to whatever their needs are. Truth is not subjective; it’s objective, and it’s found in a Person. We read that He is the “way” and the “truth” (John 14:6), and He is the ultimate example of authenticity for us to look to. He never wavered in the face of different crowds—even in the face of death He stood firm in His identity. When we stand for truth, we are showing Christ to a world in need of Him.
Authenticity may not come naturally for some of us. But for a believer, being authentic involves putting off our “old self” and putting on our “new self” (Ephesians 2:22,24), moving forward in a life that is honoring to Christ. Authenticity may not always be welcome in a world so used to keeping on masks, but we are called to be a light and to bring truth so that souls may come to know Christ!