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SPIRITUAL LIFE

Dobbins: How to Be An Authentic Christian: Part 2

By Dr. Richard D. Dobbins

CBN.com -- AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE TRUTHFUL

Being truthful is not always easy. Just look at Peter. Even though he promised the Lord he would go with Him to prison and to death, when Peter was put to the test, he denied ever knowing the Lord (see Matthew 26:35,69-75).

Each of us has to come to terms with our heart's deceitfulness. Jeremiah reminds us that there is nothing as deceitful as the human heart (see Jeremiah 17:9).

We cannot know just how deceitful our own hearts are except as God reveals it to us. The contrast between authentic Christians and phony Christians is nowhere seen more clearly than in this area of truthfulness.

Authentic Christians are truthful about who they were and who they are.

If one thing provoked the Lord more than others it was pretense. His most angry remarks were reserved for the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who pretended to be what they were not. They were so busy trying to be perfect that they forgot to be honest.

Paul never forgot who he was. On more than one occasion he referred to himself as the "chiefest of sinners," the greatest of sinners.

I believe one of the greatest benefits of testimonies -- telling others where we were and what we have become through Christ -- is that it keeps Christians honest about who they were and who they are.

By being truthful about who you were before Christ came into your life, you open a window of hope for many of your friends who are still where you were.

By being truthful about where you are now, you encourage others to be honest about themselves.

There is no place for boasting among Christians. We are all sinners saved by grace.

AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE THANKFUL

All over the world Americans are known as great complainers.

Unfortunately, there is no scarcity of complainers among churchgoers either. But authentic Christians are thankful, and this is the will of God for you if you are a Christian: "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18,).

There are times when you have to find God's will in complex issues, but there is nothing here you have to discover. Paul makes it very clear that when it comes to thankfulness and gratitude, it is always the will of God for each of us.

But many times we look at what we do not have in life instead of what we do have. And we look at what is wrong instead of what is right.

There is something about giving thanks that brings us into the presence of God, which is why Paul is encouraging us to be thankful people.

Authentic Christians are known for their gratitude and thankfulness. This is one of the characteristics that makes their lives so attractive. Regardless of how circumstances may be going in the thankful Christian's life, he or she can find something for which to be thankful.

Remember Paul and Silas, with their feet in stocks in prison, found something for which to be thankful and sang praises to God at midnight. It was the will of God for them to do that, and in doing it they set a whole prison free (see Acts 16:19-36).

The authentic Christian can always find something to be thankful for.


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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