Becoming Authentic – A Sermon Post
I’m listening to a series by Mike Connell on Fig Leaves and Other Coverings. There is such a call on the church to live authentically. And Pastor Mike Connell is right: the main reason that we need to pursue becoming authentic is so that we can bring healing to this broken world and broken people around us. There are people really hurting, and we can’t minister to them until we are whole ourselves. He began this sermon with the story of the Good Samaritan and the call to go to the broken and heal their “trauma” through the anointing that Christ has in us & through us. But we have to apply this healing to our own hearts, and that means getting real with OURSELVES & becoming authentic.
The main complaint about the church (and Connell talks about this) is that we are fake. We walk into church with our smiles and outfits, terribly afraid that someone will find out what is really going on. Social media has made it even worse I believe. Everyone presents the best version of their lives on Facebook, but usually hide the mess, myself included. When are we going to get real-with each other…with the world? What will it take?
I highly recommend this pastor not just because of his cute accent (he’s in Australia or New Zealand I believe), but because he presents profound truth in practical ways. He speaks to the root of issues in our lives using scripture and the Holy Spirit. Below are some of the notes from his sermon. The link to the full series and full sermon are at the bottom of this post.
The reality is that many people, their walk daily is actually inconsistent with what we believe and so God wants us to grow and mature, to grow up. Growing up isn’t easy. It’s got some challenges with it and I want to share with you today some keys to help you grow. In Genesis 3:7 we saw that Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together, made themselves coverings. In Verse 10 he said I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself, so Adam and Eve as a consequence of the fall hid themselves from painful reality. To actually come into the presence of God meant to face what was really happening in their life and Adam said I was afraid. That means he had deep feelings, bad feelings, bad vibes and he said because I was naked and so I ran away and hid.
We saw how Adam and Eve as a consequence of the fall concealed their identity, covered themselves up and then hid and we see here a pattern; their behaviour of hiding came about as a result of them feeling fear and believing God was going to punish them. So when we look at people’s lives you see the outward part which is like the tip of an iceberg on the surface, but below that outward part is where people really live. So if I’m going to grow as a believer and grow in my relationship with God and ability to represent Him, I’ve got to change on the inside. I’ve got to explore my inner world and discover what is in there. Now you don’t have to become introspective, looking into yourself all the time, but the Holy Spirit is given and He dwells inside you and His job is to bring to your awareness where you need to grow up.
[The Bible said Jesus said 00.06.01] in John 14, I won’t leave you orphans. I won’t leave you without a Father, so if you’ve been without a father in your life or been under poor – perhaps your parents weren’t able to function, your father wasn’t able to function as God intended to, nevertheless the spirit that God puts into you, the Holy Spirit of God is a fathering spirit. It is to speak into your heart direction, correction and to bring about maturity so you discover who you are and how to relate and live your life and how to fulfil a purpose. That’s the role of a father, one of the major roles of a father – so Jesus said I will pour My spirit into you and the Holy Spirit I put inside you will be a witness you belong – that God is your Father, but also that spirit, the Holy Spirit in you is to bring you to face realities, to face truth. If we keep covered up and hiding our life and don’t want to go there or pretend we’ve moved on when we haven’t moved on, or minimise what’s happening in our life, we miss out on the opportunity to grow and fulfil what God called us to do.
It’s very difficult to enter into anyone else’s life very deeply if you’re very shallow yourself. Can God use you? Of course He can. You can encourage someone, you can show an act of kindness to someone, you could visit them, you could ring them, you can connect with them, give to them. You can do all sorts of things, but there’s a dimension of reaching into lives to really authentically help people which won’t be yours unless you’re willing to grow. So God wants us on a journey. Now how does God get us to grow when many times we don’t want to face the areas which are damaged, nor address them? We want to just to push them under and get going. Well God’s got a great strategy and that strategy’s called pain. Pain – you notice if you hit your thumb and you’re in pain the one thing you notice is your thumb. You notice nothing else. Your whole world is filled with THUMB! Isn’t that right?
So whatever you’re in pain about will always get your attention, so God has got a strategy. If you don’t want to face changes in your life and He’s committed to changes in your life, how’s He going to get your attention? Well a whole heap of ways, but one of them is pain. Now does that mean God causes pain? No, no, no, no. No, we do stupid things that cause ourselves pain, but God allows us to go through a journey where we have to stop and have a look at what’s happening and if you can develop a lifestyle where you develop your inner world and begin to mature and grow in your inner world, your outer world will change dramatically. Most people I talk to are wanting God, they’re praying God change this; God change my husband, God change my work, God – now what they’re doing is they’re trying to get exterior changes and not looking how should I be changing on the inside so I can become the kind of person that’s needed, see? Change on the inside, your exteriors will change quite quickly.
Full series here.