Written by: Megan Kincheloe
Not too long ago, I read a book by Steven Furtick titled Sun Stand Still. Something he said in that book and in a blog he published on March 30, 2011 really stuck with me. He said, “My goal in parenting is to raise my kids to have a boring testimony. In other words, to stay out of trouble and love Jesus all their lives.” This statement caused me to pause and think about my own testimony. Unfortunately…I would not use the word ‘boring’ to describe my life estranged from Christ. I use the word ‘estrange’ lightly. You see, I was distancing myself from Him but He was never far from me. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Whew…praise the Lord!
I have thought about this statement with regard to my own children ever since I read this book. I would love nothing more than to see them walk in His love, be the light, and to have a super boring testimony. And I would love the same for you. When I think of a life with a boring testimony, I think of someone who has confidence in their walk with Christ. I was not that person and struggled for years to define my life as a Christian.
As I look back on my own Christian journey, I am easily able to break the road down in to four different paths. First I was a ‘believer.’ Next I was a ‘warm Christian.’ After that I was a ‘plastic Christian.’ Now I finally believe I have achieved being an ‘authentic Christ follower.’
Let me break these paths down a little and hopefully impart some wisdom that may help you leapfrog over the first three straight to authenticity.
‘Believer.’ As a believer, I went to church from a newborn until I left for college. I believed in Jesus and knew I wanted to go to Heaven when I passed away. I said the same prayer every night asking God “If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I stood up in church when it was time to sing and read aloud the preprinted Confession of Sins listed for me in my bulletin. Sounds good, right? Not even close. The Bible clearly tells us in James 2:19, “You say you have faith, for you believe there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” Hmm…this makes believing seem less than stellar…but it was a start.
‘Warm Christian.’ In my late teens/early adulthood, I would say you could define me as a warm Christian. I still went through the motions…going to church when I was home, being a believer, and making people put a quarter in a jar any time they entered my college dorm room and used the Lord’s name in vain. Yay me! Only 2 Timothy 1:9 reminds us, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Somewhere along the way I missed the memo that we were called to a ‘holy life.’ In these years and even the years to follow, I was not living a life honoring our Heavenly Father. In fact…I was pretty far from it…
‘Plastic Christian.’ The Holy Spirit began convicting me in a major way. I began to crave God and wanted desperately to leave a life of partying and bad choices behind. I joined a Bible study with a group of friends and began attending a new church. God was igniting a fire in me that I had never felt before. I met with the Pastor of the new church and recommitted my life to Christ and then BAM!…I did not know what to do with myself. I threw up Jesus on everyone I met. I believed I needed to seem ‘perfect’ to those around me in order to show people the old was gone and I had been made new. THIS. WAS. EXHAUSTING. I ended up fumbling all over myself, appearing judgmental, and not liking this ‘new me’ at all. Now what? Ugh…
‘Authentic Christ Follower.’ What do you mean I can show my warts, wrinkles, bruises, and broadcast my mistakes to the world? That is not going to look very good! Oh but ladies…THIS. IS. FREEDOM! And once you reach this stage, you crave that holy life. We will never achieve perfection and thank goodness we do not have to! But we can make a decision to make healthy and positive choices that honor God. We can make a decision to do what is right and in the meantime…we can JUST BE OURSELVES. We are not always going to be the best versions of ourselves and that is why owning our mistakes, repenting, and moving forward in authenticity is such a beautiful character trait. Now, I am not saying you have to bear your soul to the world. Sharing all of your faults may just not be what God is calling you to do. He may, however; call you to share some of those messes and turn them in to a message that reaches others for the advancement of His kingdom. Would you be willing to do that if He asked?
I do not share this with you to cause you to feel shame if you already have a testimony. I truly believe God uses our messes to reach His people and advance His kingdom if we will allow Him to use us as a vessel. While I would love to say I never strayed from Christ and have always walked alongside Him, that would not be the truth. That being said…I have been blessed to see the beauty in His grace, forgiveness, mercy and redemption and pray you will be open to receiving those gifts when you mess up too. Because you will…and that is ok. That is what being authentic is all about.
Much love to you ladies ❤️