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Not for the Faint of Heart

A beautiful Christian sister of mine and I taught Bible class together for a while in the Richmond area. We were tasked with teaching middle schoolers, which is not for the faint of heart. She was so amazing and wanted to teach them a verse from the Bible that would make them better people. Something impactful. Something true to all Christians. What she came up with was amazing. She selected a section of verses from Philippians chapter 2

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (verses 3-7)

When I think about authenticity, I think about this verse. Putting ourselves second and looking to the interests of others. Even Jesus, who has the right to sit beside God on the throne, took on the form of a servant. Wow!

Another verse that comes to mind is Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

These verses put some serious responsibility on us as Christians. “As it depends on us” suggests that we are in control of the situation and ourselves. When we are authentically seeking Christ, shouldn’t these two verses speak to us differently? 

Authenticity is about staying true to yourself and your values. These two verses are asking us to do just that. Being so authentic that we can put others before us in ways that the world thinks is ridiculous, but that God puts value in. 

My oldest daughter, of whom I have shared so much about over the years, has decided many things over the last two years that I disagree with. She is old enough that even as her mother I have to allow her to make those mistakes separate from myself. Is it possible to disagree with someone on such a basic level and still love them? Still talk to them? Still be a part of their lives? These verses tell me yes. I think of her first. I keep the peace because it does depend on me. I tell her I love her and disagree with her life choices. I have to stay authentic to my own self and belief in God and His will. I have to stay strong and speak truth into her life and wisdom into her life. 

Being an authentic Christian is not for the faint of heart - like teaching middle schoolers. But at the end of that study with those middle schoolers we saw a change in them. They memorized the verses, even framed them! They really took them to heart and allowed God and His authentic word to enter in their lives. I pray that the same thing eventually happens with my daughter as well. When we stay true to God’s will, he will bless our efforts. It won’t always look perfect, of course, but the reward He promises is pretty amazing. 

Father, help me to be authentic to my belief in you and your word. Help us as mothers and grandmothers, aunts, and sisters to set an example of peace and love. Let us put others before ourselves in a way that shows you and your love. Be with our children as they walk through the confusion of life and allow them to remain true to themselves and you. Amen.

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