Faking It Never Works in the Long Run
Now that we’re in a New Year, I’m beginning to think about how I can live a better life. Be a better person. Be a better husband, father, and friend. I know I want to appear to be kinder and wiser, more disciplined, gregarious, and thoughtful. I want people to see me as a better leader, preacher, and writer.
But am I willing to do the hard work of actually being kinder, wiser, and more disciplined, etc.? Appearing to be something and actually being something are two different things. Looking good isn’t the same as being good.
And sometimes I wonder if I, and maybe “we,” approach our faith in Jesus the same way. We can be very successful at practicing our religion without actually deepening our relationship with God. You can go to church, sing on the worship team, help in children’s ministry, attend a class or even teach a class and simply be engaging in spiritual activities devoid of the depth of relationship.
The same goes for me as a preacher. I can hone the skill of public speaking, know how to engage people with smiles, listening eyes, and firm handshakes. I can craft my prayers to fit any and every situation. I can exegete a text, apply sound hermeneutics, and use smart-sounding words to convince others that I know what I’m talking about. I can do all these and more and still be far from God. Religious knowledge and activities do not necessarily produce a Christ-like life.
Now, I’m not against knowledge and activities. And I’m not suggesting you should not go to church or sing on the worship team or help in children’s ministry. But what I am suggesting is that you ask yourself the same question I am asking myself at the start of this New Year: Am I actually becoming more like Jesus or am I merely appearing to be more like Jesus?
I guess there are worse things for us to appear to be, but faking it never works in the long run. I’ve heard it said before, “All glitter is not gold.” What one appears to be and who one truly is may be two different things.
One of my goals for 2019 is to stop trying to appear to be someone I think would gain the approval of others and simply be someone who aspires to follow and become more like, Jesus.
May this be true for all of us this year, that we “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, NIV). And may it not just appear that we’re mature, may we actually grow in spiritual maturity.