Thursday, February 11, 2010

Authenticity Part 2

The more I look at my life, the more I desire to be "real" like Jesus.

What is it that made Jesus so authentic to people? People would trust Him, share with Him, desire to be close to Him.

I want to BE that person and I WANT to HAVE people like that in my life.

Look with me at another passage of scripture that shows the beauty of what authenticity can do.

It is from John Chapter 4. Let me set the scene. Jesus and his disciples are in Samaria. They stop and Jesus sits down by a well while the rest of the guys go off to get some food. Jesus meets a woman here, asks her for a drink, and has a conversation with her. Let's pick up in John 4 vs 15 after Jesus told her about the living water.

John 4:15-30  The woman told Jesus, "Sir, give me this water! Then I won't get thirsty or have to come here to get water."
 Jesus told her, "Go to your husband, and bring him here."
  The woman replied, "I don't have a husband." Jesus told her, "You're right when you say that you don't have a husband.
 You've had five husbands, and the man you have now isn't your husband. You've told the truth."
 The woman said to Jesus, "I see that you're a prophet!
  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that people must worship in Jerusalem."
  Jesus told her, "Believe me. A time is coming when you Samaritans won't be worshiping the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
  You don't know what you're worshiping. We Jews know what we're worshiping, because salvation comes from the Jews.
  Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him.
  God is a spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
  The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us everything." (Messiah is the one called Christ.)
  Jesus told her, "I am he, and I am speaking to you now."
 At that time his disciples returned. They were surprised that he was talking to a woman. But none of them asked him, "What do you want from her?" or "Why are you talking to her?"
  Then the woman left her water jar and went back into the city. She told the people,
  "Come with me, and meet a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could he be the Messiah?"
  The people left the city and went to meet Jesus.

Don't miss what happens here. A woman who is obviously an outcast, she is at the well midday instead of in the morning, is surprised that this man even speaks to her.

But when Jesus asks about her husband, something I find very interesting happens here.
The way I see it she had three options.
#1 Lie. She did not know this person, how would he know anyway. (safe, easy)
#2 Tell him she had to go, and avoid answering. ( really safe and easy)
#3 Tell him the truth. ( scary, not so easy, unsafe)

I find it amazing that she chose option #3.
What did she see in Jesus, that made this woman feel safe enough to share, openly, of her own free will, her sorted past and present?
Was it in the way he spoke?
Was it the simple fact he was willing to talk to her when no one else would?
Could she see real love in his eyes?
I wish I knew what it was.

It is easy to see what was in the disciples minds.
They were shocked he was speaking to THIS woman. But notice, they were not even authentic enough to voice it. But it was so obvious. They did not have the same heart for this woman that Jesus did.

I want to be Jesus at well for people.
I want to find Jesus at the well in people.

Why? Why do I long for this so deeply?

Look at the last verse, and it is clear.

Then the woman left her water jar and went back into the city. She told the people,
  "Come with me, and meet a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could he be the Messiah?"
  The people left the city and went to meet Jesus. 

When authenticity shows up,  people meet Jesus.
Because of how Jesus treated this woman, many people met Jesus.

Every person I am authentically available for has the potential to lead an entire city to Jesus. I may never know the impact I can have.

You may never realize the impact on my ministries you have when you are authentically available for me. Safe. Walking beside me. I have the potential to introduce an entire city to Jesus.

Is being authentic important?
I believe it is at the very heart of our mission. 
People Meeting Jesus.

It's what I believe was in Jesus' heart every moment he spoke to that woman.
Or hung on that cross.

Authenticity. 100%.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I have been pondering the idea of authenticity for the last couple of weeks. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. I observe people all around me that feel they have to wear a mask in order to be safely accepted in their everyday lives.

2. I see judgmental people tear others down and make it very unsafe to show who they really are.

3. I know personally those who have a great need to share what really goes in their lives but find no one with which to do this, because once again it is not safe.

And lest we in the Church, think it is not that way with us,
all of the above things are within the church body.

So what must occur so that true authenticity can occur in the Body of Christ?

That is the question that has been plaguing my heart.
As I searched the scriptures, I found two examples of what I see as true authenticity.

Let me share them with you.

The first is from John 8:3-11 in the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery.
John 8:3-11  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of everyone
  and asked Jesus, "Teacher, we caught this woman in the act of adultery.
  In his teachings, Moses ordered us to stone women like this to death. What do you say?"
 They asked this to test him. They wanted to find a reason to bring charges against him. Jesus bent down and used his finger to write on the ground.
  When they persisted in asking him questions, he straightened up and said, "The person who is sinless should be the first to throw a stone at her."
  Then he bent down again and continued writing on the ground.
  One by one, beginning with the older men, the scribes and Pharisees left. Jesus was left alone with the woman.
  Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Where did they go? Has anyone condemned you?"
 The woman answered, "No one, sir." Jesus said, "I don't condemn you either. Go! From now on don't sin."

The woman in this account, was at a very difficult point in her life. Her dark secret was revealed. She was hopeless. Jesus was there. He knew exactly what she had done. And yet, He meets her right where she is, deals with her accusers, and then sends her on her way with the encouragement to change her life.

If you met that woman today, what character in that passage would you be most like?
Are you an accuser, looking to find fault in everyone you meet? (unsafe)
Are you like Jesus, willing to step in the gap and walk with someone to help them change their life,
regardless of the sin committed? (safe)

Only when we act like Jesus do we create a safe place for authenticity to take place and God's grace to shine.

Authenticity will only come when we start acting like Jesus.
Here is what I find;
Christ and Him alone is the only way authenticity can be reached.
If we are growing in His grace,
accomplishing His mission,
becoming more and more like Him everyday,
then we will see things with His heart,
His Love,
and extend His grace.

We will put aside
OUR opinions,
OUR judgments,
OUR need to be right,
OUR prejudices,
OUR selfishness,
OUR bitterness,
OUR right to avenge wrongs,
and OUR need to show HOW GOOD WE ARE,
to surrender to Jesus.

Can it be done?

I have only seen it twice in my own life.
Two people I can be totally authentic with.
Two people I feel TOTALLY safe with.

Tomorrow I will share the second example I found in scripture when an environment was created and true authenticity shown brightly. 

I must decide if I desire true authenticity or desire to be self-centered.  
I cannot have both.

I want to chase God's heart in this matter.

Chasing Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson