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Dr. Richard D. Dobbins
SPIRITUAL LIFE

How to Be An Authentic Christian: Part 1

By Dr. Richard D. Dobbins

CBN.com - Do you long to know what it means to be a real Christian, a 24-7 Christian determined to live out the faith in a truly authentic manner? Then this practical look at the character of a Christian is for you.

AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE ABLE TO TRUST

A lot of people who go to church resemble Christians, but they lack real authenticity. They have no living, vital relationship with Jesus Christ.

But Jesus, in the parable of the wheat and the tares (see Matthew 13:24-30), warned that focusing our attention on removing the "tares," or unauthentic Christians in the church, might damage authentic Christians.

The starting point of being an authentic Christian is being able to trust in God, and along the same lines, being a trustworthy person.

Many times we as professed Christian are great worriers. But as we grow in relationship with Christ, we will learn how to trust God. We learn how to commit things to Him in prayer, and we find He is faithful to respond to our prayers.

Trust is not always easy.

It is like the story of the man who pushed a wheelbarrow across a tight wire stretched over Niagara Falls. It was one thing for observers to say they trusted he could do it; it would be a different matter for them to volunteer to crawl into the wheelbarrow!

Really trusting God means crawling into the wheelbarrow.

I think when we first come to the Lord our relationship with Him is so fresh and vital that it is easier to trust Him. But we need to learn that a true trusting relationship with God grows stronger as we allow the Holy Spirit to play His role in our lives, along with the role we play in trust.

Solomon said, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6, KJV).

There is the part we play: We trust in the Lord; and there is the part He plays: He directs our path.

Involved in trusting God is being a trustworthy person. The authentic Christian not only trusts God, but he is someone who is worthy of the trust of God's people.

AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE TRANSPARENT

If you have been in the church very long, you know there are people who are evasive and others who are downright deceptive.

And there are those who are in denial; they have issues in their lives and their relationships that they never acknowledge or deal with. These are the kinds of people who often are the source of division and confusion in the church.

Authentic Christians are transparent. What you see is what you get with them. They have learned through hard experiences that the transparent life is more likely to bring them the joy and peace of the Kingdom, so they are honest about what is happening in their own lives and they are honest about issues they have with other people.

Transparent people learn the wisdom of living according to John's plea that we be transparent in our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with other people (see 1 John 1:7-9).

That is, we live in confession of our sins, we find forgiveness of our sins, and we walk in truth and light with God and with others.


Dr. Richard D. Dobbins is the leader of EMERGE Ministries of Akron, Ohio. He serves on the faculty of Ashland Theological Seminary and initiated the coordination of their master s program in Pastoral Counseling. An acclaimed author, Dr. Dobbins has created numerous film/video presentations on topics of interest to believers and has written many books, booklets, articles and audiotapes on Christian mental health care.

Copyright 2000 Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God. "Guidelines for Good Living" - the highlights of the daily and weekly radio program, "From This Day Forward", a joint production of EMERGE Ministries, Akron, Ohio, and the Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Mo.

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