On New Years morning my wife and I just left the house and walked towards the car to head out to church and we noticed something a bit odd for January 1.  We heard birds singing like you do when its spring and the weather was unusually warm for central Pennsylvania.  It seemed like Easter morning, not New Years !  The respite from the winter cold was shortlived but very welcomed but it reminds me that sometimes, things aren’t always what they seem.  Nice day in reality but the greater reality, its still January here !!

As I read the Bible it seems God values genuineness, after all He is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (Jn.14:6). As sinners, we tend to value the opposite all too often.  When David wrote Ps.103 he left us a heartening verse that says, “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (vs.14).   God sees us for who we are, we however are tempted to hide that and put on an act for  others.   Several years ago a young woman at our church cried and said to my wife and I “I’m afraid if you see the real me you won’t like me !”   That statement, which I fear many Christians think at times, is flawed in many ways. For one, it thinks people’s love should be based on human love and can only be extended when a person measures up to other’s expectations.  It’s very conditional and limited in its scope and so puts a huge amount of pressure to either perform to gain that love or scheme and put on an act to be loved. It also fails to grasp that God loves us not because we deserve it but because quite simply, “God is love” (1Jn.4:8,16).    That greek word agape that you sometimes hear about in church is a concept that if we really got our spiritual mitts wrapped around, would revolutionize how we think and act.   Its describes a love that is based in God not us.  Not only is it used of God but the Lord commands us to love one another with it, not just the husband the wife !   Truth cannot be separated from love and when we understand God loves us even where we are we can be more real and there is no need to fake it.  It doesn’t matter what others think when you truly believe God loves you where you are !

This doesn’t mean He condones our sin but He does understand we’re still sinners, He knows our frame !  So don’t pretend, which displeases the Lord, instead be real. Admit when you are wrong, accept His forgiveness, ask His help each day to grow and become stronger in the Lord.  Don’t settle for where you are and use the fact that He loves you to stay weak, but let His love motivate you to grow even stronger FOR Him !!  That’s what being an authentic Christian means !

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