People today are looking for real.
In a recent Wall Street Journal, columnist Brett McCracken writes, “Seventy per cent of Protestant adults stop attending church regularly after they leave home. This has caused many in the evangelical church to try and be more cool. As a 20-something, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real.”
There has never been a more “real” person to walk the face of the earth than Jesus Christ. He knew where he came from, where he was going, and why he was here. He wasn’t threatened by injustice, man’s scrutiny, or imposing expectations. He didn’t try to make himself look better by hiding his sins—there were none to hide! Although fully human, he was perfect.
So how do we, far-from-perfect followers of Christ, become more real? It begins with realizing that God is also looking for real. He wants us to come just as we are—with our good, our bad, and our ugly…even our very ugly. If we hope to be real, we have to discard our cover-up mentalities. Ignoring the evil in our hearts won’t make it go away. And pretending to be something we’re not brings shame to His Name. It’s simply “un-Christ” to be phony. Further, we can’t get rid of something we don’t see.
It takes pure courage to look at ourselves honestly. And it takes guts to repent. But at the heart of repentance lies realness. In fact, it is repentance that leads to authenticity. My favorite part in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes when Aslan pulls the scales from Eustace’s dragon-body. The pain of extracting from Eustace all that was “un-real” in order to uncover the “real” was excruciating, but necessary. And so it is for us…
Like Eustace, we can’t get rid of our “scales” by ourselves. But, if every time we mess up, we fall at the cross and repent, the forgiveness of the Lord will wash over us and we’ll discover a realm of grace that has the power to change us….
A power that makes us more real.