In my first post on Knock Off Christians I talked about Paul’s admonition that we “draw near to God with a sincere heart.”
The word “sincere” comes from Latin sin cere, meaning “without wax.”
A common practice in Roman times was to fill in flaws in pottery with wax, paint over it and sell it as flawless. Until the wax melted, when it became evident it was a knock off.
The psalmist invites God to “search me, know me, reveal any offensive (unauthentic?) ways in me.” (Psalm 139) When I do that, God is kind to tell me how much He loves me, how pleased with me He is.
Then He is also kind—and gracious—to point out some areas where this is a little wax, where I am not so real as I like to think. Where there is danger—for me–of being a knock off Christian. Here are three:
I pray. Probably more than the average Christian. When people ask for prayer, I usually do it right then. I teach on prayer. I lead a ministry of prayer. I have a profound saying: The work of God is done on our knees. Then we go find out what happened.
So I should feel pretty good about my authentic life of prayer. But I know the truth.
I know I don’t pray as much as people think I do, or as much as I wish I did.
I too often move ahead in my own power in some activity, neglecting to give it to the Lord and request His anointing.
I’m so busy that I often cut short my time with God.
And I certainly don’t experience the effectiveness of answered prayer that I would love to see.
I love to give. Whether it is money, or gifts, or connections or ideas or opportunities—I get immeasurable joy from giving.
Then I read Jesus’ commendation of the widow giving her two coins—her all—and I know I have never given till it really hurts.
I have given when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. I have given in secret and openly.
But I have never given at such great sacrifice that I felt at risk.
My bio quotes others as saying: “Judy is known for her realness…”
When I speak, I tell real, vulnerable stories from my life. When I write I include the good times and the challenging times. I am honest about strengths and weaknesses, successes and struggle.
Mostly. But I know my heart. I know the stories I won’t tell, the secrets I will keep. Which of course is often appropriate. Not everything should be told.
But it is hard, even in sharing with vulnerability, not to give the appearance of greater strength, spirituality, success than is really true. It can be difficult to live up to your own reputation.
I’m not putting myself down here. I’m not filled with guilt at my imperfections and failures. I am just seeking to tell the truth to myself—that there are areas of my life with a little wax, where I am not always authentic–and to keep growing into a true follower of Jesus.
Questions for you: What about you? Real or knock off? Are there areas harboring a little wax?
c2011 Judy Douglass