In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. – I John 2:4 (NKJV)
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. -1 John 2:9 (NIV)
When you buy a collectible item, it might come with a certificate of authenticity to prove it’s not just a fake…one that looks something like the real thing, but not true to its core.
It’s the same when it comes to authenticity in the Christian walk: there are those who are, in appearance, Christ followers…and there are those who walk the walk, who walk for and with the Lord, and not for anyone else.
I believe the enemy would love to affix quotation marks around you as he eggs you on to worldly wants, behaviors, and deeds. What better way to turn people from Christ than through Bible-thumping hypocrites?
The above “let your light shine” verse comes from the Sermon on the Mount, and its context is the latter part of Jesus’ “Salt and Light” speech:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
We have an amazing responsibility and privilege to make the Lord known!
Truth: We all stumble
We all fall short of His glory…every single one of us, every day. This doesn’t mean that the Spirit of Truth doesn’t reside in us. We regularly confess and repent of our sin burdens to rejoin the Lord in a godly walk.
I think of sin as those quotation marks. We can shed them every time we confess and repent, rather than walking around with them in unrepentance.
The compromised walk
I should mention that there are also Christians who are not intentionally superficial in their walk, but compromise their walk by harboring guilt or sin…and you can imagine how that will play out.
This excerpt from a Cru devotional talks about hidden guilt and shame covered with a smile:
I did have a genuine relationship with God, but there were areas of my mind that I thought He couldn’t handle. So instead of giving them to Him, I walked around with a burden of guilt… and a masking smile.
Walk and climb off your sin weight
God’s light of truth keeps burning away at the parts of me I keep holding onto…my encumbrances of sin and shame. The closer I yearn to get to Him, the more I must let go of self. He wants a totally surrendered life. And little by little, trial by trial, confessed sin by confessed sin, He is working with me to keep those quotation marks far away. Let’s climb together and leave those quotation marks behind. Our certification of authenticity radiates from within.