Fig Leaves and other Christian Coverings – Part 3

‘Becoming Authentic’

30 November 2008


1.      Introduction:

·   How authentic and real are we with people? The way we act shows how we grow, how mature we are and how we respond to Him.

·   Some people have relationships with their pets and their hobbies rather than people.

·   How can you enter another’s world if you can’t be real and authentic? Walk daily and be consistent in life.

·   God’s plan is for us to grow, mature, represent him, and advance His Kingdom in society, not to be great pretenders but to be real, authentic.

·   Luke 10:33-34  -  This is what maturity looks like!

·   The Good Samaritan entered the world of the broken man and did what he could.

·   Jesus still enters the world of broken people to minister healing and freedom.

·   The anointing on Jesus – heals the broken hearted – Luke 4:18

·   Often people cover and conceal their brokenness and never mature.

·   Genesis 3:7  -  Adam and Eve – sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 

·   Verse 10  -  “I was afraid (bad feelings) because I was naked and I hid myself”.

·   Adam and Eve conceal, cover up then hid from the painful reality of their condition.

·   Behavior = ‘hiding’

·   Feelings = ‘fear and shame’

·   Belief = “I will be punished”

·   What if they had believed the truth? God is Good! What if they’ve behaved differently?

·   With the Holy Spirit in us, we need to face the truth and realities, if not we can’t grow and we’ll miss the opportunity.


2.      God often uses Pain to get our Attention – How God causes us to grow:

·   God allows us to go through a journey to change and to be able to change causes pain on the inside. Change inside and the exterior will change quicker.

·   Deuteronomy 8:2-3  -  Remember the way the lord your God led you all the way through the wilderness that he might know you.

·   God desired His people to grow, to mature! So they could possess their inheritance.

·   God’s people needed to break free of old patterns formed in slavery in Egypt.

·   God allowed His people to experience pain – to draw out what was in their heart.

·   God led them, allowed them to go through painful experiences and to get rid of the victim mentality that faith might grow. Israel demonstrated that they were unable to enter the promised land – if you resist change, you delay your life from progressing to a higher level.

·   Unless there is sufficient pain, most people will not take an honest look at themselves.

·   Many people change when pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.

·   He knows exactly what is in us. We don’t, we are unaware of what’s going on inside. Experiences bring it to the surface. We could loose our cool, loosing control. What you fear will control your life.

·   The first step to change is to develop ‘awareness’ of ‘inner personal world’.

·   Awareness of behaviors, of feelings, of beliefs and motivations.

·   Most people would prefer to control and manipulate their ‘outer world’ than explore their inner world.

·   Real change requires painful honesty! Change, be honest. The preferred choice is to control the world around us, but God wants to change our inside to influence the outside.

·   How do you look beneath the surface? Begin to change.


3.  Keys to Change:

1) Developing an Awareness of what I am Feeling and Doing:

a)     John 13:3-5  -  Jesus was fully aware (knowing) who he was and what He was  doing.

·   Knowing = 1492 = eido = to see, become aware of, to perceive by senses.

·   He was secure in His identity = able to break free of expectations from people.


b)     Jesus was deeply aware of His feelings and expressed them openly. No need to

      pretend. He was a passionate man.

·   John 11:33 – Jesus wept.

·   Jesus felt and expressed emotions: joy, anger, astonishment, longing.

·   There are 8 main groups of feeling/emotions: Anger, Sadness, Fear, Shame, Disgust, Enjoyment, Love, and Surprise.

·   Every person has feelings – part of being made in the image of God.

·   How connected are you with your feelings?


c)     Jesus was deeply aware of His feelings for others.

·   Mark 1:41  -  Jesus moved with compassion. He felt the pain in others life.

·   Empathy = ability to be aware of and sensitive to the feelings of others.

·   To impact people is to be aware of how they feel. To be able to do this we need to be able to be aware of what we are on the inside, our heart, conflict, belief systems.

·   What you belief you become.


d)     Practice paying attention to what is happening within you.

·   E.g. your body – tension, stomach knotted, clenched arms.

·   Become aware of your own feelings – identify them;

-    when you experience them

-    when you pray in tongues

-    when you meditate

·   This is the road to maturity.


2) Ask Questions:

·   Once you become aware of what you are feeling, what you are doing ad ask questions. Why?

·   What am I feeling?

·   Why am I feeling that?

·   Why am I doing that? E.g. late? Avoid? Putt off? Dreading meeting?

·   Jesus entered the world of other by questions,

   e.g. Luke 24:13-17  -  Disciples  - ‘What are you talking about?’    ‘Why so sad?’

·   Don’t make assumptions – take for granted without checking to see if it is true.


3) Welcome Feedback:

·   Proverbs 15:32  -  “He that refuses instruction (feedback) despises his own soul. He that hears reproof gain understanding”.

·   Proverbs 19:20  -  “Hear council and receive instruction that you may be wise in latter end”.

·   Feedback = to receive information from others about you behaviors and attitudes that enables you to become aware and make adjustments. Respond and not to be defensive.

·   Feedback needs to be given:

i)  Specific, not general

ii) Descriptive, not subjective or judgmental.

·   Feedback needs to be received:

i)  Without becoming defensive (Saul)

ii) Welcomed as a friend (David)

·   When you are open to feedback and welcome it, everybody can teach you something.

·   The Holy Spirit teaches in spirit and in truth – welcome feedback and what you can get help from, get your attitude right.


4) Commit to the process of Change:

i) You must want to change and grow.

·   John 5:6  -  Do you want to be made whole?

·   You must take personal ownership of your life.


iii)     Invest in relationships that encourage growth.

·   John 11:44  - “Loose that man and let him go”.

·   Lazarus needed the help of others to remove the old coverings.

·   We grow best in relationships when others who accept us and give feedback.


iv)    Be courageous and face painful truth.

·   Proverbs 28:13  -  “Who ever covers his sin shall not prosper…confess, forsake and find mercy”.

·   Cover = 3680 = conceal, clothe.

·   Not prosper = 6743 = push forward, break out, become mighty.

·   Confess = OT  =  yadah = to know intimately, to throw, to praise.

                      NT = homologeo = to speak the same word.

·   It can be very painful to face the truth about ourselves.

·   Become free to share failures, weakness, needs, admit wrong, apologize.


v)     Believe in the Goodness and Grace of God.

·   Proverbs 28:13  -  “he that confess and forsake shall find mercy”.

·   Grace = strength and encouragement from God to empower and change.

·   Mercy = 7355 = to love, show compassion, have tender affection.

·   What does God’s word say about me? About Him? Embrace it. God will pour out His grace.


Note: Adam and Eve removed their coverings and received God’s provision.

                                    - removed their ‘Glittering Image’.


God sees the heart that responds and work with it. Holy Spirit speaks to an open heart. We won’t go forward if we don’t grow. Be able to receive grace, don’t beat yourself up. Ask God to help, guide, show you, and enable you to get up – have a heart good to God. Ask forgiveness, help – grace and goodness will come to the humble. You will then be able to show grace and minister to others, to enter other people’s lives. We need to take responsibility to grow and change otherwise we don’t have anything to give to other people.


Authenticity with God is to be passionate and wiling to grow. Don’t stay where you are, step forward, move on, step up.