Authenticity cannot be faked.
That seems elemental but it needs to be said. We live in a world of images where what seems to be real, may not be real at all, and what is real may make so little noise that it is overlooked. In some organizations the truth gets handled rather than simply told. Theatrical gestures are used to signal some inner reality that may be completely missing. Great care and fuller resources are spent on the way a presentation looks and sounds rather than what is actually being said. This world is so image-mad that connoisseurs accept a well-done work of art regardless of the message it contains.
As we stand before the Lord this morning, it is impossible to fake Him out. He knows the deepest things about us. We hold no secrets from Him. As we pray, God looks deep into our hearts. What does He see?
God is never fooled.
In short, He sees what is there. Many wicked things can hide deep in the human heart, stealthy things that avoid the radar of our introspection. To others we can talk a good game. We have memorized our lines and we know how to present ourselves, not as we are, but as we wish to be. Because God is God, He cannot be successfully lied to. We can fool ourselves and our public appearance of spirituality may fool others, but God is never fooled. None of us has enough wool to pull over His eyes.
You cannot pray a lie.
Private prayer becomes a season of self-revelation as the Holy Spirit rejects lie and after lie as we try to pray them. This is a process called “The Refiner’s Fire,” from the words of the Prophet Malachi. Its purpose is to “purify the Sons of Levy” (NT believers) so we offer worship to God that is worthy—read that—“authentic.” The fires of His Holy Presence bring hidden things to light where we can deal with them.
… I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness … as in former years.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Luke 12:1 NKJV
For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.
Lord Jesus, You came to this earth as the authentic representation of who the Father is. You walked the same earth I walk, enduring the same types of temptations I face, yet without sin, the authentic human life. Now through Your death and resurrection and Your gift of the Holy Spirit, I can live an authentic human life. I am forgiven by faith in Your blood and I am empowered by Your Spirit, so let my life radiate with authenticity. My life will tell Your story and my works shall be works of praise. Search me, O God, and know my heart today! Amen.
Words: J. Edwin Orr Music: Maori melody
1. Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
2. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
3. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.
4. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival, start the work in me;
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved