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Authentic Christianity is not a dress rehearsal for a show that people observes but a reality that every believer must live out daily for people to follow God and His plan for their lives. The Scriptures describes simply what authentic Christianity is about: “Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:4-6). Here’s what I believe that can summarize what John wanted to convey to us today: “When we fully imitate Jesus’ life and character in our daily life, then we can truly impact those around us as they see Jesus’ life manifested in us.”
In order to fully understand what we need to do to have an authentic Christian life, we must remember these three (3) essential things at hand: (a) Knowing God without keeping His commandments is portrayed as a liar and a deceiver, “Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”(v4); (b) Knowing God and keeping His word is a proof of His love and relationship with Him, “…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him” (v5); (c) Abiding in God must reflect Jesus’ life at all times, “…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (v6).
What marks an authentic Christian life? One major component is to walk and demonstrate a life of integrity. An online dictionary defined integrity this way: “the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity” How does one exhibit integrity? In his book Lyrics, Oscar Hammerstein II points out one reason Christians have always known: "A year or so ago, on the cover of the New York Herald Tribune Sunday magazine, I saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty . . . taken from a helicopter and it showed the top of the statue's head. I was amazed at the detail there. The sculptor had done a painstaking job with the lady's coiffure, and yet he must have been pretty sure that the only eyes that would ever see this detail would be the uncritical eyes of sea gulls. He could not have dreamt that any man would ever fly over this head. He was artist enough, however, to finish off this part of the statue with as much care as he had devoted to her face and her arms, and the torch and everything that people can see as they sail up the bay.” Subsequently, when you are creating a work of art, or any other kind of work, finish the job off perfectly. You never know when a helicopter, or some other instrument not at the moment invented, may come along and find you out.
Always remember that people around us can simply observe manifestation of its validity and can attests to its existence or non-existence in one’s life. Read carefully what Paul exhorted Titus to do that we can also observe: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (2:7-8). Thus, living an authentic Christian life is an adventure and a journey in itself that must be continually pursued with an aim to please and honor Jesus alone. When God’s people fail to do so, it will not only dishonor Him but will give the enemies of our faith ammunitions to ridicule and accuse us of deception. Though it is hard for us to maintain such attitude, applying it will be worth doing especially when another life is transformed because of its reality. After all is said and done, it is all that matters that moment we follow Jesus. May our authentic Christian witness, marked with integrity, cause another person to follow Him wholeheartedly for the glory of God alone!
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