Living Authentically

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
James 1:22

When Jesus walked this earth two thousand years ago, he spoke about the Kingdom of God and loving others. He taught the way to God, which he ultimately revealed to be himself. And he healed, cast out demons, and raised the dead.

To put it more simply, Jesus spoke and then backed up what he spoke about by doing it.

He said to love God and then actually, visibly, loved God. He said to love your neighbor and then actually, visibly loved his neighbors. He said to even love your enemies and then he actually, visibly loved even his enemies, even why they were in the process of killing him!

We are then told to imitate Christ.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

Craig DeMartino climbing in Wonderland of Rocks (Joshua Tree National Park), California (photo by the author).

This past weekend, Craig came to speak out our church. Those who have read this devotion for a long time know of Craig and his story. But if you don’t, you can learn more about Craig here.

During the telling of his story, Craig said something that really hit me in the heart.

He talked about actually living your faith.

I can tell people about God and Jesus and the Gospel. And I do tell people about God and Jesus and the Gospel.

But unless I visibly live the truth of God, Jesus and the Gospel, I’m failing in the Great Commission that Jesus gave me (and all Christians) to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them.

Craig works, plays, and hangs around a lot of different kinds of people. Some are Christians, like he is. Most are not. One of his best friends is actually an atheist. Another is a Mormon.

Craig doesn’t shy away from talking about Jesus and his own faith in Christ with even these friends.

But Craig admits that if he didn’t live his own Christian faith authentically – actually, visibly loving God – then he would not be any kind of witness to Christ, especially with them.

Craig says that these friends watch him very closely. They watch how he goes about their mutual passion for climbing (they are rock climbing partners). But they also watch how Craig treats his wife, is raising his kids, and whether Craig actually goes to church (instead of just talking about it), reads his Bible, and prays.

Living authentically is the phrase that came to mind when Craig was talking about this. And it convicted me. I don’t always live my Christian faith authentically.

Especially in the morning! I was called out on this by a dear brother just recently. “I stopped saying “good morning” to you since you tend to be grumpy in the morning.”

And it is true. I do tend to be grumpy in the morning. And I’m sorry! I apologize to you that has witnessed this in me! And I thank my friend – and God – for pointing this out!

I want to live my Christian faith authentically – at all hours of the day and in front of anyone I meet.

Please pray for me to do this – which I can by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace (God’s Word and Sacraments).

And I’ll pray for you to do this as well.

We’ll live our faith authentically together and I pray that God will change people’s hearts in some way through our actually, visibly, loving God and loving our neighbors!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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In the Name of God

24The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26 ESV.

Happy New Year!

This is the day where we all get to start out fresh. I gave up resolutions years ago and switched to setting goals for myself. What’s the difference? My friend Sharideth taught me this one: The difference between a resolution and a goal is eight letters. And how it makes you feel when you don’t get it 100% right. In other words, the moment you miss the mark on a resolution, you feel like a failure and the resolution is over.  But when you miss the mark with a goal, then that’s just a setback.  The difference is mental.  One is devastating, the other can be mobilizing.

So, no resolutions for me, only goals!

My number one goal in this New Year is to wear the name of God like it was a brightly painted necktie!

My goal is live my life so that everyone knows that I bear the name of God on me.

The Bible verse at the beginning of this devotion is known as the “Aaronic Blessing” or the “Benediction.” It is usually spoken to God’s people at the end of a worship service.

But it is more than a simple “amen, let’s get going” type of thing. It is the Word of God spoken to His people that literally puts His name on them. As God’s people leave the sanctuary, they head out into the world wearing the name of God.

The name of God is a powerful thing. In the name of God or the name of Jesus people are healed, raised from the dead, forgiven of their sins, saved from death and hell.

My goal for 2012 is to live my life in the name of God. I will fail at times. But that’s the beauty of living in the name of God, the name of Jesus – which means “The Lord Saves.” When I fail, God forgives me for the sake of Jesus! Living in the name of God is living in the awesome power of God.

I believe that now, more than ever before, we need people living in that power. 2012 is going to be an interesting year. Some people believe that this is the year the world ends. Who’s to say? It could happen. But an ancient calendar that happens to run out of dates on December 21, 2012 doesn’t really scare me. After all, Jesus Christ Himself said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36 ESV). So if that’s the case, there’s really nothing to get worked up about, is there?

Instead, live in the name of God in 2012. Make that your goal (not your resolution)!

Go Incarnational

I use three of the biggest social network media available today: Twitter™, Facebook™, and email. The reason I use these is

Image courtesy of fredonia.edu

because I have been called to tell the Good News about Jesus. Through these tools I can tell the Good News about Jesus to nearly 2000 people every day.

Twitter™ has been in the news a lot over the last two or three years. Facebook™ had a multi-million-dollar-earning moving about it last year. Email messages outnumber postal mail (“snail mail”) 81-1.

Social network media is here and it is popular and it is growing. Over 40 million Americans tweet. Facebook has over 500 million members. There are 39.6 billion email messages sent every day.

1/12 of the planet is connected socially – and doesn’t have to see the light of day to connect.

This is why these media have been called virtual media. People can connect with other people and never have to actually be in the presence of a flesh-and-blood person.

That’s pretty cool. It is also efficient and immediate – two things 21st Century American culture loves very much.

But when it comes to telling the Good News about Jesus, it isn’t enough. I believe that Jesus came when He did – 2000 years ago and not today – because of the social network media stuff didn’t exist then as it does today (not only because of it but it was part of the reason, I believe).

Jesus may have been able to reach more people using Twitter™, Facebook™, and email than He did in the three years walked this earth. But I don’t believe Jesus would have changed nearly as many lives.

The whole point of Jesus Christ coming was so that God could interact with humans in the most intimate way – by taking on flesh-and-blood and dwelling among people.

I will not condemn social networking media but I will emphasize that we must live beyond the virtual media and actually go out and talk and walk and live among flesh-and-blood people.

We must be just as incarnational with people as God is with us.