The photo is cup of iced coffee that I was privileged to drink yesterday. My daughter and I went to her favourite coffee shop and celebrated the end of finals. So why the photo? This was not your typical iced coffee, this iced coffee was far beyond what I thought I had ordered. Not only was the coffee superior, the ice cubes were made from the same great coffee! A magical concoction on a hot day!
So why am I writing about iced coffee? Obviously, it elicited a huge smile from me, but also because I think it holds a lesson for all of us.
That iced coffee was authentic. There was nothing but coffee in that drink. When I examined an ice cube, or actually a coffee cube, it was coffee. It stayed coffee, even when the coffee cubes melted because they were coffee. Nothing about that drink was anything but coffee.
Somehow this cup of iced coffee made me consider my Christian witness. Just a note…I really, really like coffee, so I guess drinking great coffee can get a little spiritual for me. Back to the topic, AUTHENTICITY. The question that I have been considering is, ‘Is my witness, as authentic as that cup of iced coffee’? Interesting question to consider, right? When people watch all of the facets of my life are they consistent with what I claim to believe?
Consider Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
How about 1 Corinthians 13:2
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
One more James 1:26
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
These verses are just a few that talk about AUTHENTICITY. Just because we call Christ our Lord means nothing without doing His will. Actions without love also fein our AUTHENTICITY as a Christian. We can look just right but if we tear people down with our words, James calls our religion worthless.
There are many verses that speak to the AUTHENTICITY of our faith, but I think probably the most famous is Luke 11:39
And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
The Pharisees, in Jesus’ time, were a religious and social group that were leaders in the Jewish traditions. They had great pride in their precision in following the Jewish law. Jesus was often at odds with this group because Jesus was about truth and Spirit. The Pharisees walked in the black and white of the law, all justice and no mercy. The Pharisees saw Jesus as a threat to their well monetized life style built around all of the intricacies of the law. I think what probably scared the Pharisees the most was Jesus’ AUTHENTICITY. There was certainly nothing in Jesus that was anything but being about His Father’s will. Christ is our perfect example of AUTHENTICITY.
Christ really cared very little for appearances. To Christ the only thing that mattered in a person was his or her heart. Christ was a Jew and we see Him following the Jewish traditions, celebrating the feasts, and going to the temple. He did all of these things for only the right reason, it was His Father’s will. He did all that He did out of love.
I know the problem, you and I are not Christ. We don’t have the direct line to the Father like Christ did, right? I will give you the ‘I am not Christ’, but you and I do have a direct line to the Father and He is named the Holy Spirit. We can be AUTHENTIC! What we say, do, and even what we think can all track together because we have the Spirit within us. I am not claiming that we can be perfect in this, not even close, but I am claiming that our lives can speak one message. Will I mess up? Of course. Will I need to ask for forgiveness at times? Of Course. But, in the midst of all of it my life can be AUTHENTIC as I lean more and more on the Spirit.
So today, I am drinking more coffee and concentrating less on how things look and more on what is really inside my heart. Is my life AUTHENTIC?
Much Coffee and Much Grace