From Honest To God? Becoming an Authentic Christian by Bill Hybels (published by Zondervan in 1990), page 12-14.
The dictionary defines something as "authentic" when it "conforms to what it is represented or claimed to be." Authenticity means consistency--between words and action, and between claimed values and actual priorities...
Few external problems hinder the ministry of the contemporary, Western church. We have money and buildings. We have top-notch educational institutions to prepare our leaders. We have abundant resources--books, tapes, conferences, training centers, para church ministries. We have relative political freedom. But inauthentic Christian living negates all these external advantages...
Christianity is a supernatural walk with a living, dynamic, speaking, personal God. Why then do so many Christians live inconsistent, powerless lives?
Authentic Christianity begins with spiritual authenticity--a vital, daily relationship with Jesus Christ. But a vital relationship with Jesus Christ takes time--not leftover, throwaway time, but quality time for solitude, contemplation, and reflection.
I read this book for the first time about fifteen years ago, Lord. And I keep going back to it, re-reading certain passages, even teaching other people from its pages. Why?
Because I want to be authentic, Lord. I want to be the "real-deal" in my relationship to You and in my relationships to other people. Like the dictionary says, Lord, I want to actually be what I claim to be. I want to live up to that name CHRIST-IAN.
I don't want to be one of those Christians who hinders Your Church, Your work, Your mission on earth. I don't want to ever be part of the problem. I want to be one of the reasons people accept Christ, not one of the reasons they run the other way.
Show me my weaknesses, Lord. Show me how to live transparently before lost and dying people who are seeking You. Show me how to live so that I become a crystal clear lens through which people see Christ.
A crystal clear goblet. A sparkling mirror. A streak-less window pane. They all allow the beauty of light to pass through them or to be reflected off them.
And so it is with authenticity, Little One. An authentic Christian seeks to disappear like the goblet through which you see the rich color of the beverage. Like the window pane that allows sunlight to illuminate a room. Like the mirror that disappears so that you behold your image, not the mirror itself.
Your authentic life will allow My light to illuminate the world around you. Your authentic life will reflect Me instead of drawing attention to you. John Baptist said it well. "I must decrease and He must increase, " he said of Me.
So, Little One, all you need do is disappear.
Disappear and let Me shine through your life.