By Amy Wearring
Truth has always been at the very centre of who God is. God desires truth (Psalm 51:5-6). Jesus is the Truth. He said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). God longs for us to talk to him openly about what’s going on in our lives. He wants to meet us in the midst of it.
Living authentically as a Christian means asking yourself “how am I doing? What’s going on within me? Am I becoming more like Jesus, OR am I becoming more like the world? What does God think?”. Everyone has stuff that they’d rather not let others see: Thoughts, feelings, struggles. Some of these things we’ve been carrying for a long time. We fear that if we’re honest with people about them they would leave us, reject us, and no longer love us. The sad thing is we think God is the same, so we shy away from being real with Him. But God is not like that. The truth is God is not surprised by our brokenness nor is he scared of it. He already sees it and knows what is going on. God is waiting for you to own it, embrace it, and for you to ask him to help you walk through it. I don’t think anything brings God as much joy as when his child says, “Hi Dad, I need you”. That is a prayer that will always get a yes and an Amen. Being real with God and yourself isn’t a weekly routine, it’s a daily walk with Jesus. Not only is it the way that leads to deep healing, but it also the way that creates intimacy between you and the Father. “The Lord is close to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
I don’t think anything brings God as much joy as when his child says, “Hi Dad, I need you”.
If we’re going to be honest with God, we first need to be honest with ourselves. We can’t simply walk into a hospital and declare “I’m sick” and expect to be healed; we need to diagnose the problem. We need to go on a journey of self-discovery and ask ourselves the tough questions: How am I sick? What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What am I still holding on to that I’m not giving over to Jesus? Matthew 23:25-26 challenges us to take an honest look at what’s inside us. We should pray like King David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…Point out anything in me that offends you” (Psalms 139:23-24 NLT).
You can’t kill a tree without getting rid of its root, and you also can’t put on new clothes without taking off the old ones. The process of being real can be tough and overwhelming, but real starts wherever you’re at. I don’t always feel like being honest about the stuff I struggle with, and to be honest I’d much rather run away and hide from some of the shame, embarrassment, and pain I have. But every day as a Christian we have to choose to trust God and His word over our feelings and wanting our own control over our lives. The beauty about anything hard is that it’s an amazing opportunity for growth. We don’t always feel God when we’re going through tough times, but afterwards we can see that he was everywhere. It’s a way that God invites us into a new step of obedience.
Self-discovery isn’t just about revealing and healing our brokenness, it’s also about revealing the beauty that God’s put inside of us. God wants us to know that he made us beautiful; It’s the Devil who tells us we’re ugly and worthless. God’s thoughts about us are precious (Psalm 139:14-18). I have to keep asking myself ‘when was the last time I stood in the mirror and genuinely thanked God for making me the masterpiece that I am?’ Are we worthy of love? God says in His word, “yes you are”. God’s love for us isn’t dependent on our love for him. Even in the depths of our soul when we don’t think we’re worth it, the cross says we are. We all reflect God and we each have our own specific strengths that reveal a unique part of God’s character. Reading the Bible is a fantastic way to learn about ourselves and what God thinks about us. The Bible reads us. Not only does it reveal where we fall short and why, but it also tells us what virtues we should be pursuing to become a healthier Christian (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
God’s love for us isn’t dependent on our love for him. Even in the depths of our soul when we don’t think we’re worth it, the cross says we are.
Living ‘real’ lives should lead us to want to live in ‘real’ community. Community wasn’t our idea, it was God’s; He is perfect community. He designed us to be in relationship with each other and in Christ we are family. Church should also be the place where we can be honest with each other [confession – James 5:16; 1 John 1:8] and a place where we challenge each other about the way we’re living. Real community isn’t just another set of relationships, it’s intentional: “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me” (John 17:21-23). Real community is not a place where we stay the same, it’s where we experience transformation: “We will no longer be immature like children…Instead we will…grow in every way more and more like Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Real community is not just meant for ourselves, it’s missional. It does not exist for itself, it always reaches outwards: “I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). We do not do good things in church so that we can have a great name. We do good things as Church so that Jesus can have a great name, so that He is lifted high. I was challenged to start my journey of self-discovery and to begin living a ‘real’ life by the community at Sandals Church in California. The church’s vision is to be ‘real with self, God and others’ and God is moving powerfully in their community through this. 513 people were baptised on April 22nd. I believe that when we begin to live in truth, we will start to see God move in ways beyond our imagination.
Ultimately, the ‘real’ life is only going to happen if we proactively choose to live it. You can’t change your life without God, but God will not change your life without you. Are you willing to change your direction? He will not bless the hypocrisy of us asking him to change everything about our lives if we’re unwilling to let him change anything in our lives. Jesus asked the man sitting by the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:2-15). That is also his challenge to us. God is willing to be real with us and heal us, but are we willing to be real with Him and let him?