There’s a story told of a woman who pulled up to a red light behind another car. The driver of the car in front of her was talking on his cell phone, and shuffling through some papers on the seat beside him. The light turned green, but the man didn’t notice. The woman began pounding on her steering wheel, honking her horn and yelling at the man to move. The man still didn’t move. The light turned yellow. The woman blew the car’s horn repeatedly, as she yelled and screamed at the man. The man finally noticed the commotion. He looked up, saw the yellow light, and accelerated through the intersection just as the light turned red. The woman was beside herself, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant she heard a tap on her window and looked into the face of a very serious looking policeman. The policeman told her to shut off her engine and step out of the car. The red-faced woman obeyed, speechless at what was happening. The policeman took the woman to the police station where she was placed in a cell, after a couple of hours of sitting in the cell, the woman was brought out to the front of the station where the original officer was waiting with her personal effects. The policeman handed her the bag containing her things, and said, “I’m really sorry for this mistake, but you see I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn and screaming and cursing. Then I noticed the Choose Life license plate holder, the Follow Me to Sunday school bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, naturally I assumed that you had stolen the car, but I was wrong!
Authenticity…Refers to the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.
Philip Yancey wrote: “Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people. I think back to whom I was — resentful, wound tight with anger, a single hardened link in a long chain of “un-grace” learned from family and church. Now, I am trying in my own small way to pipe…the tune of grace. I do so because I know, more surely than I know anything, that any pang of healing or forgiveness, or goodness, I have ever felt comes solely from the grace of God. I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of that grace”.
Grace also will remind us, it’s okay to let others see how much God still needs to work in our lives. Grace and authenticity walk hand in hand.
- Isn’t it tragic that people regularly enter churches and then leave again never finding grace?
- It’s common to believe in God’s grace but to be ungracious. It’s also common to preach grace, but not extend it. As people, we claim grace and forgiveness for ourselves, but we often demand performance from others. We need to understand Christ’s heart for His Church.
C.S. Lewis said, “Man is incurably religious.” Our human pride makes us legalists by nature. We need regular, repeated doses of the Truth of grace to flush that garbage out of our thinking. We also love to give others a good impression.
- What will characterize Christians who pursue grace-driven authenticity?
The passage below will help us discover, how to put a “face on grace“. It helps us celebrate grace — in turn to “grace” each other. This moves us down the road to being real.
Colossians 3:1-14 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
1. Grace (driven) people know their roots – verse 12
2. Grace people reflect grace
Wear gentleness… This word is the same word as meekness — it‘s the opposite of rudeness and abrasiveness.
Put on Kindness…. that’s action that grows out of compassion.
Put on humility…. Humility flows out of remembering God’s grace to you. In Romans 12:3, Paul says, through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Put on patience… Literally, that means putting up with people’s exasperating conduct without responding in kind.
It time we find our Purpose ~
Dictionary for Purpose: The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal:
Paul Harvey – “Like what you do. If you don’t like it, do something else.”
John Ruskin – “Tell me what you like and I’ll tell you what you are.”
Kenneth Hildebrand – “Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes; lesser ones exist on wishes and inclinations.”
What is your purpose in life? - The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal:
- Most times we are quick to say what is our secondary purpose, but everything in creation has a primary purpose, or a reason for existing. For anyone or anything to be successful, it must fulfill that purpose.
- AUTHENTICITY = REAL