What is authenticity? These are some definitions offered: Original – affirming and carrying God’s design; Genuine – being real, nothing to hide.
These two words bring to mind a memory from a secondary school trip to Hong Kong. In 1995 (and now), the city’s night markets were known to be a shopping haven for fashion and apparel at bargain prices. We knew the catch of course – these were counterfeit, fake products – usually obvious upon closer inspection, although some could easily pass off as the real deal.
We were undeterred in our adventures of course, because there was also another appeal to shopping at these places – not all products were necessarily fake, there were the “factory rejects”, clothes that were still the genuine authentic product, but because of defects they could not be sold on high street but disposed of at bargain prices in the night market.
Although this analogy has its flaws, it helped me crystallise my understanding of authenticity.
I do not want to be an “imitation Christian” – to merely emulate Christ-like traits or just to do Christian-things. Because upon closer inspection, I will eventually be found out. Even if I could fool everyone, I cannot fool God (1 Samuel 16:7). Perhaps an authentic Christian is more like a “factory reject” – made in God’s design, but with flaws. Fortunately the analogy ends here, because God does not discard the flawed products but actively seeks them out. An authentic Christian does not wish to hide his or own flaws, but asks the Holy Spirit to reveal them, so that it may come to the light and that we may live by the Spirit (Gal 5:16-26). May we all be authentic in our walk with God, and allow Him to work in our lives to transform us — inside and outside – into real Christ-likeness.
By Deacon James Chia (YCKC Bulletin 16 August 2020)