Authenticity means being completely ourselves, in the best way possible. The world is full of distractions and if we are not careful it is easy to be led astray. All of us have values which we stand by. Yet, many times we do not follow them. We find ourselves going further and further away from the true, best versions of ourselves. We find ourselves looking for validation from others. We do and say things in an effort to fit in. We do not want to be disliked. We want people to praise us. We look for attention whether consciously or not. We find ourselves boasting, being prideful, being arrogant.
At times, we hurt people in an attempt to ‘get back‘ at them. But do we ever count the cost? Why do we try to hurt and destroy each other? Do we ever consider the pain we inflict on others? We forget what we do to others does indeed come back to us.
The Bible tells us that whatever we wish others would do to us, we should also do to them.
With our words and actions we lead people astray. We live superficial lives. We lead others to believe we have perfect lives. Yet, we are far from being perfect. The people who watch us and listen to us then start comparing their lives with ours; they may even grow discontent with their own lives. Yet they do not realize that everything is not always as it seems. We live a lie most times, whether we realize it or not.
We say things we do not mean, we do things with the wrong motives, we allow negative influences into our lives. We allow people to define us, we allow people to tell us to do and say things that go against our values and against the Word of God.
At times though, we find ourselves in the hands of people who have no good-will towards us in their hearts; people who are testing us and want us to fall, people who say all the right things and do all the right things. Yet, their hearts are far away from the truth. We meet people who are deceitful, manipulative, cunning. They look for an open door into our lives, come in, and start trying to bring us down.
People form an opinion of us, even without meeting us. Most times such opinions originate from their experience and also are influenced by the condition of their hearts. Usually, trustworthy people trust easily, evil people see evil, good people see good. People will test us and put us through all forms of negative experiences just to prove their view of us is correct. They will drive us down and smear us with mud.
The enemy is crafty, he does everything to drive us to fall; he will appear very friendly at first but turns ugly quickly. The enemy is out there looking for souls to devour.
If we follow everything blindly we will find ourselves in a dark hole. Not everything is as it seems. The enemy will do anything we allow him to do; he will drive us to hell if we allow him to. This is why we need to be alert. God helps us discern. Spending time in prayer and studying the Word of God gives us weapons to fight the enemy, we gain knowledge and understanding, we gain wisdom.
We do not stand still and do nothing when the enemy attacks. We put on the full armor of God. We resist and fight back.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7.
The enemy is not our friend; he may approach us as a friend and try to test us; he wants to see how much he can get away with; he will do as much harm as possible. But praise be to God, through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have access to power. We only have to tap into that power. The enemy has no chance; he was defeated many years ago.
When we develop a relationship with God, we get to know who we truly are. We realize that the way that leads to eternal life is very narrow. It means we have to give up so much, but the reward will be worth it. Authenticity means we have to die to the flesh. We do not go out there doing anything and saying anything we want to. We put the flesh under subjection to the Word of God. Something may be lawful but it does not make it good or edifying.
All things are legitimate (permissible – and we are free to do anything we please), but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive to character and edifying to spiritual life. 1 Corinthians 10:23.
God gave us free will; we can either choose to serve Him or the enemy. Any moment we say no to God, we say yes to the enemy. Most times we do and say things and then try to justify it based on the other person’s words or actions towards us. We cannot conquer evil with evil. The Law of God says we conquer evil with good.
The moment we try to ‘get back’ at someone, we fall into the trap of the enemy. We fall into mud-smearing with him; we forget he is the only one who enjoys swimming in the mud.
Our true character comes out through how we respond to situations and how we treat others. Yes, we should guard our hearts and we should not allow others to cross boundaries. We should never encourage bad behavior or influence and hurtful words from others. That usually attests to whom they truly are. A tree is known by its fruits. We stand up and fight against all forms of injustice and immorality.
We should never become enablers of wrong; the moment we allow people to continue doing wrong, we become enablers. We fight evil with good, we speak the truth in love.
When we accept Christ into our lives as our Lord and Savior, He comes in and empowers us to change. We start living for Christ. We live authentic lives governed by the Word of God and led by the Holy Spirit. We do not seek external validation, we are not people-pleasers, we are not doormats, we do not allow people to do anything they want. We know our stand and are firmly rooted in Christ. God is our source and we live for God; we live to please God.
We live by the greatest commandment as taught by Jesus, “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27.
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