Our church is called “a church for people under renovation” because we take seriously the idea that any significant relationship with God or the Church must be based on vulnerability. We have to be able to own the truth of our scars and our stories if we hope to experience any level of transformation together. So of course for us, that means creating the kind of culture where people are encouraged to confess their sins one to another that they may be healed (James 5.16), a culture where people who walk in the exposure of God’s light as He is in the light (I John 1.7). We are rigidly, dogmatically opposed to religious systems that keep people from being able to share the truth of their stories in a a raw, unvarnished form.
What you have to understand about this approach, where authenticity is not just a buzzword but lived reality, is that it isn’t just about letting your sin show. It’s not just about letting your struggles and temptations show, though that is part and parcel of the project of living an authentic life in Christ. It’s also about letting your holiness show. We believe we are supposed to create the kind of culture where people are not only authentic in expressing their shadow side, but authentic in expressing the brightness of God’s glory within them.
I know what you are thinking. Didn’t Jesus warn us against superficial acts of piety? Not trumpeting it when we pray or when we give…praying in the secret place and not letting your left hand know what the right hand is doing? Yes He did, which is why I’m not talking about superficial acts of piety. I’m talking about holiness. When you come down the mountain from being with God like Moses did, there is a glow about your face that you can’t really hide–or at least not for long. There is a fragrance, a sweetness, a power and authority produced exclusively by the presence of Jesus. When you try to bury that reality or conceal that brightness, you are being just as inauthentic as the person that refuses to talk about their struggles and sins.
If you are experiencing the reality of Jesus in your life, you can’t hide the presence for fear that someone else will take your brightness as judgment on their darkness. You can’t conceal your joy for fear someone else will take it as an indictment on their despair. You can’t hide your light under a bushel. There is grace and power flowing in radioactive doses flowing from your life when you walk in the Spirit.
I hope you will become the kind of person who is able to be honest about your imperfections and weaknesses. But if the truth on the baseline of you is that Jesus is alive and active and moving by His Spirit in your life, don’t cover that either.
Let your holiness show.