5 Ways To Live More Authentically

You Only Know What You Live

As I talk with Christians, I often hear them claim things about themselves that are not validated by their life. They know they fall short, but try to convince themselves otherwise. They don’t understand that experiencing the struggle to live a life in Christ is how they are becoming what they claim. They are not there yet. Saying so does not make it so. Sadly, many Christians live under the delusion that if they believe hard enough about “who they are” they will become that person. However, that is not true faith. That is not reality. 

Have you ever read a book and then believed you knew the topic because you read about it? Many Christians approach God this way. They read the Bible and think they know God because they’ve read about Him. They quote scripture believing they are quoting something about themselves. Maybe I’m sensitive to this since I pretty much did this very thing for decades.

You can think about and quote scriptures. But if you are not seriously trying to live scriptures then maybe its better for you to be silent and, in humility, admit that you struggle to live what you quote.

Why? Because you only know what you live. You only know something when you experience it. 

Knowing?

You see, the idea of “knowing” has gotten messed up. To most people knowing means to know about something. If you can get it “into your head” or “understand it” intellectually then you know it. But knowing was never meant to be purely intellectual.

If you could ask only one of the following people to come speak about France at your Rotary Club, which one would you invite? The person who read a travel book on France? The person who vacationed in Paris? The person who lived in France for a year? Or the person who was born and lived in France, speaks the language and actually is French? Which person really “knows” France?

This does not deny that each person above has a certain knowledge about France. Each level of knowledge, however, has its limits. That is what needs to be humbly acknowledged.

Christian Knowing?

Christians have a tendency to claim much about themselves that is not actually lived. “I know God.” “I am mature.” “I pray.” “I am a Christian.” “I love everybody.” “I am not judgmental.” “I am saved.” “I know the truth.” “I give everything to Jesus.” “I am filled with the Spirit.” “I am a follower of Jesus.” “I love you.” Easy to claim. Almost impossible to live.

Simultaneously, Christians hesitate to claim much about themselves that is actually lived. “I am impatient.” “I am judgmental.” “I am a controller.” “I am angry.” “I don’t love my enemies.” “I am proud.” “I trust myself more than God.” “I don’t know God.” “I lie.” “I am a hypocrite.” “I don’t act like Jesus.” Easy to live. Almost impossible to claim.

Solutions

  1. Learn to live in repentance. Keep turning from your old self, your former ways, your faulty thinking and keep turning to God and his love, light and life.
  2. Start using the word “becoming” – I am becoming mature, becoming less judgmental, becoming a follower of Jesus, becoming more humble, becoming a Christian.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Sizing yourself up against other Christians is unwise and useless.
  4. Devote yourself to knowing God in your experience of Him. Learn an everyday communion with the Trinity. Struggle on the narrow way with God. 
  5. On your spiritual journey, be quick to admit your faults and slow to claim mastery.

Don’t claim to know what you don’t live. You’re only fooling yourself when you do. Become more authentic.

Choose one of the solutions above. Begin to practice it today.

Dr. K

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

14 thoughts on “5 Ways To Live More Authentically

  1. Recently taught the Beatitudes in Sunday School. Easy to teach, hard to live. I found Dallas Willard’s “The Divine Conspiracy” a great reference.

    I will choose one of the solutions and begin to practice today.

    Thanks for writing, keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Sam. I think of all the teachings of Jesus, the Beatitudes are the most glorious and most challenging. Willard got my attention back in 1999 with his writings on the Beatitudes among many other things. Presently, I do not interpret them as he did then. (He probably sees them differently now, too. :-)) But at that time he got me to pause and rethink them – a very good thing! Can we even imagine living them? Did you find “The Divine Conspiracy” a help on your spiritual journey? Thanks for engaging and being a fellow-traveller with us on the journey. Thanks be to God for all things! Dr K

  2. I continue to struggle with pride, which makes me judgmental, controlling, and easily frustrated with people with whom I disagree. Will work on becoming less of all of the above, starting with the pride.
    Personal story: A couple of years ago when I asked God to work on my pride, I was amazed at how quickly my day-to-day tasks (especially at my workplace) became difficult and challenging. It was a memorable season for its frustrations and tears. Day after day what were once commonplace activities in my life, suddenly became nightmares. There were days when everything I touched appeared to go wrong.
    Since then, I consciously give God credit when things go well, even the little things. I need to constantly tell myself that I am not in control. I do what I can but God always holds the outcome.
    Thanks for the reminder Keith.

    • Thanks for sharing your struggles, Karen. I think we all can relate! I find that asking for the Lord’s mercy helps keep pride a little more in check. God is even in the things that go wrong. You are a blessing!! Thanks be to God for all things. Keith

  3. Karen, your words humble me and bring tears to my eyes. Finding a person who desires humility in the true sense is quite rare

  4. One of the problems I think is that in many Christian faith denominations, there is a theological and therefore a practical disconnect between authentic spiritual transfiguration and the concept of “salvation”. “Salvation” tends to mean an extrinsic “justification” – a legal pardon – having little to nothing to do with one’s individual spiritual condition. So one can believe one is “holy as I am holy” because it says so in scripture, without any inner struggle or transformation to authentic holiness, because in these traditions holiness is appropriated not by struggle to become like Christ, but as a result “imputed righteousness”.

    • Good insight Kevin. Well said. What you have written will challenge many of my readers. Perhaps it will help us pause and examine our own understanding of authentic faith. Thanks for taking the time to engage and comment. Thanks be to God for all things. Keith

    • Hi Fr. Wade. Thank you for engaging and commenting. We all want to be more authentic. Let’s journey this road together. Dr. K

  5. I learn…I practice…I fall down….I get up….I learn…I practice…I fall down…I get up and run to Jesus.

    Keith, thanks for reminding me that the Gospel is “Ground Hog Day” in the Holy Spirit.

    I am facing a situation to practice forgiveness…and I don’t want to, please pray that Papa will make my heart to want to.

    • Hi Bonny. What a challenge is the practice of forgiveness! May the grace and love of God guide you. “Wanting to” may not be the way God directs. Being obedient to His call to love and forgive as He loves and forgives may be what He’s after for you. You are being prayed for daily. I’ll add this issue to my prayers. I love the “Ground Hog Day” reference – practice until the heart changes. Blessings to you. Keith

Comments are closed.