We found a small creature crawling across the garden bed and captured it. Was it friend or was it foe? Could we continue weeding and planting with it around us or was it a danger to us?
We observed its shape and its habits for a long time and in both its appearance and its actions it had a definite likeness to something both nasty and deadly. We hesitated but finally decided it had to be dispatched.
Much later we found out it was totally harmless and could have lived out its natural life in the garden. But had we let it stay, we would have been in constant fear not knowing whether every similar creature was friend or foe. We would have needed to spend time to authenticate every such creature and our work would have been severely hindered.
I remember an old warning to ‘abstain from all appearance of evil’ because it is important not to hinder the good work of the gospel. Don’t make hard working people waste time to find out whether you are authentic or not.
When Jesus called Zaccheus the tax-gatherer to be his host, he did not tell him to throw in a good word for the gospel while he raked in the taxes. He inspired him to be authentic and change his way of life.
When he spoke to the prostitute he did not tell her to turn on the lights and beat up the music to get people to where they would listen to her newfound faith and direction in life. He told her firmly to be authentic and change her lifestyle. He said ‘go, and sin no more.’
When he called his disciples, he called them to leave their old habits and appearances to follow him. Being authentic mattered.
But trust Paul to make it stick. He has that way with words and he put his finger on everyone’s personal compass. He said to bring ‘into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2nd Corinthians 10:15.
Being authentic matters.
Elizabeth Price email@example.com