I’m not a very “showy” type of Christian.
I prefer to pray in private rather than in large gatherings.
I praise Jesus but I don’t think it needs to be a big production with music and praise can be offered in many different ways.
I don’t tend to overspiritualize things in life. I believe that God is at work and He’s moving in me and all around me, but I try not to turn everything into a sign or something that needs to be taken from a spiritual perspective.
I believe that conversations are more effective than sermons and that speaking from the heart is more honest and powerful than giving a long, drawn out speech about the Bible.
This is new for me, really. It wasn’t always like this.
In the past, I saw all of these things as the measure of spiritual maturity. I had this belief that, to be truly mature in your faith, you needed to be able to show it in these ways.
One of the problems with this was that I so often felt like I was forcing it just so I could make myself FEEL spiritually mature. It never felt right to me, but I was driven by this conviction that I had to be public and showy with my expression of faith so I went along with it for a long time.
In my mind, my religious devotion – and my ministry “calling” – was demonstrated by how passionately I prayed, how well I preached, how loudly I sang, and how much I talked about my faith to others.
So what changed?
I began to understand that, while the Bible talks about a faith that is empowered and bold, it also talks about a faith that’s based on humility and genuineness.
I began to understand what an authentic faith was really about.
I became disenchanted by people who put on a good show of their faith, sounded really good, seemed really passionate, and talked much about their belief in God but whose lives and character didn’t really match what they were giving off.
I wanted something deeper than that. Something more real and authentic.
And I finally allowed myself to believe what I had always felt. That you don’t have to make a big show of your faith in order to be spiritually mature.
The book of James says this: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27 ESV).”
And Jesus says this in the Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 6:1 ESV).” He then says this in verse 6: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”
And then there’s this. The prophet Micah gives this command in Micah 6:8: “He has told you , O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
All of these verses tell me this simple truth: authentic faith and spiritual maturity are about loving God, having a real relationship with Him, serving others, and living a godly life in this world.
That’s what God wants from us and for us.
It’s not always about how public or vocal you are or how often you demonstrate your faith. What really makes a difference is God’s people living genuinely, loving sincerely, acting like Jesus, and allowing their faith to drive every aspect of their lives.
That’s what makes us more authentic. And this authenticity is what the world needs more of right now.