What is Authentic Faith?

Over the past eighteen months, God has been teaching me what it looks like to live authentically, to live real—both before Him and the people around me. Having spent most of my life believing that perfection trumps transparency, this journey has stretched me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.

If you rewind those eighteen months, you would find me at a crossroads. Surrounded by the polar opposite of honesty and integrity, I knew that God required more of me—more of my faith. But wrestling with what was and what should be, left me depleted of trust and searching for a soft place to land.

God was asking me to live faith wide open. I simply wanted to hide.

As I scanned the landscape of Christian faith, I began to see that God was stirring up a movement—people of faith desiring to live theirs out with honesty and a willingness to admit that while we love Jesus, we are well aware that we aren’t Him.

What is Authentic Faith? {www.simplyforone.net}

We are not perfect. We are not sinless. We are simply saved. (Tweet that.)

And I knew then, that this calling to lay myself bare, to be real, wasn’t just a suggestion. It was a necessity. I not only needed to restore and reignite my faith, but I needed to empower others in theirs.

This charge from God opened my eyes to an incredible community of believers, a new church, and a sisterhood that lived wide open right alongside me. I’ve tried to live out the lessons God has shown me in the every day, but especially with the words that I lay down in this space. By speaking truth with grace. By being honest about my imperfections. By creating a safe place for others to do the same.

So … as believers in Christ, how do we live authentically? How do we live real?

  • We can be authentic and honest, but we are always accountable to God.

There is something beautiful about our willingness to share our stories. To not only speak about the mountains, but also the valleys of our faith. But as believers, our journey always has to end with truth. Our fellowship as believers is not in commiserating over sin, but in being cleansed of it. (1 John 1:7)  We should receive the hurt, the misunderstood, and the confused with grace in abundance to that which we’ve received. And then, we offer them the remedy—God’s truth. Authentic faith leaves us better than we were found.

  • Authenticity does not trump our privacy with God.

We have a Father who receives us as we are. He is our soft place to land. There is nothing that we can’t bring to His feet, lay at His thrown, or process in His presence. (Hebrews 4:15) Ours is sacred relationship; our first line of defense. Our desire to encourage others in their faith by living ours openly, can’t come before we seek God honestly. There is no redemptive power in my story. By allowing God to sift through our thoughts, we ensure that we point others toward Him, not back to us. Authentic faith seeks God first.

  • When we live real, we proceed with wisdom and caution.

Being vulnerable in any situation can tap our emotional and spiritual resources. Hence, the necessity to go to God first for strength. But often, I feel first. My emotions drive so much of who I am. But feelings can mislead faith. Being real doesn’t give way to cattiness, insensitivity, and divisiveness. (Colossians 4:6Vulnerability without caution can derail our validity. If I dump every single thing I feel on those I’m called to point to God, I’m going to look more crazy than honest. Authentic faith is not about keeping up appearances, but we won’t impact anybody if they stop listening to what we have to say. 

  • Practice authenticity with your community.

My journey toward the pursuit of transparency in faith left me on the outskirts of a long standing community. Not everyone is of the mindset that living honest before God is a good thing. We are sinners after all. Just because we’ve chosen to give grace, doesn’t mean we’ll be received with it. While God is our safe spot, we all need people who will receive us flawed and frayed. They are the place we practice being real; our grace place. Authentic faith is not lived out alone.

The path of faith is not easily navigated. There are intricacies that make it one of the most difficult terrains to travel. But there is no journey that is more rewarding. When we open ourselves to the incredible wonder of a God who doesn’t require secrets, or pretense, or our self-imposed perfections, we come face-to-face with the most unique kind of freedom.

Authentic faith isn’t religion, it’s relationship. And there is no better way to honor the most valuable bond in our life than to be honest and humble—to be real.

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

53 thoughts on “What is Authentic Faith?

  1. Tiffany, your authenticity and sincerity is such an encouragement. Thank you for being a leader in this blogging world! You are a blessing my friend.
    With Love and Blessings!

  2. I had to read this one again today. :-) I always love the insights the Spirit gives you, Tiff. Keep writing, friend. You are a strong force for Christ in this world. xoxo

  3. Love this, Tiffany! I find it amazing how God guided you and I to authenticity this week! I appreciate your words of hope and encouragement. “Authentic faith isn’t religion, it’s relationship.” Amen and amen! Praying God continues to bless, grow, and stretch us all in authenticity. Much love, dear sister in Christ!

    1. Thank you, Julie. It’s always a beautiful confirmation of His work in us when He keeps bringing us to more of it! So glad we got to share that common thread. Always blessed when you visit.

  4. Tiffany,
    Thank you for the important reminder that in order to lead other sinners to Christ, we need to date to be authentic and be willing to be vulnerable. The world has enough pious Pharisees…what it needs are some honest and real disciples! Joining with you in pursuing authenticity in all my relationships – with God and with others!

  5. Oh Tiffany, SO many great thoughts! You’re talking about my One Word for the year: Authenticity. I’ll be coming back to this post to read it again (and again). I sense God drawing me into deeper transparency with Him, as well as encouraging me to be transparent with safe people in my life. I’m guessing that being a safe place for others will come as part of this growing process.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and the truths you’re learning. They spoke deeply to me, my friend!

    1. Yes – your one word!! It’s such a great place of growth and dependence on God. It can be scary and stretching, but we both know that with God, there is always fruit in those things. Safe people are so important and they make authenticity organic – you want to invite them in and share that pure community. Can’t wait to see where God takes you on your word journey this year. Love you, friend.

  6. “perfection trumps transparency”
    I. Love. This.
    I’m right there with you, hearing the call to be obedient and authentic… I felt every word of this, and felt like shouting out an “AMEN!!”
    Awesome writing!
    Happy Wednesday!!!

    1. I totally allow “Amen” shouting in this space. :) I truly believe God is calling many into this place of authentic faith. He knows there just isn’t time to waste with all that self-imposed perfection and those hoops to jump through. People need to know they are loved, chosen, and that He is coming back for them. Thanks for visiting today. Hugs.

  7. Wonderful , warm and wise insights! I love this post and all it points to. These words especially: “When we open ourselves to the incredible wonder of a God who doesn’t require secrets, or pretense, or our self-imposed perfections, we come face-to-face with the most unique kind of freedom.” Amen! Tiffany, you deal so well with the authenticity that a lived out, relational faith requires of us. I’, blessed to know you in the faith community in which we live and move as writers and bloggers. And blessed even more by the words God has graced you with here and that many will benefit from reading. Beautiful, simply beautiful, just like your heart. Xx

    1. Now you’ve gone and made me cry!! Joy, your words are so generous and you’ve blessed me a whole bunch today. I too am so grateful for this incredible community we travel with and FOR YOU! There is nothing quite like women of God coming together to link arms and cheer each other. Thank you for doing that for me today. Hugs, dear one.

  8. Tiffany, how lovely is this?! Thank you for so eloquently speaking this sweet truth. Being transparent is very freeing, isn’t it? Be who you be. :D Great post, thank you for sharing. ((blessings))

    1. It is SO freeing, yes! While there is wisdom and caution along the way, there is sweet freedom in standing before God knowing that there is no need to hide who we are – and that He wants to help us be the best version of us we can be. Thanks for visiting today!

    1. I can say that, Valerie, because I’ve done crazy. Ha! Sometimes the emotions just get the best of us. But, crying out to God and processing them before Him first, turns feelings into faith – and faith is what people need. I’m still pondering too, believe me. So glad you visited me. Hugs, friend.

  9. THIS: “The path of faith is not easily navigated. There are intricacies that make it one of the most difficult terrains to travel. But there is no journey that is more rewarding.” Loved this post. We can indeed live authentically!

    1. Yup…some days are just downright hard, right?! But God continues to amaze me – he upends that bad and rewrites into good and I can’t imagine journeying any other way. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Such encouragement, as always, friend. I love this, especially: “We are not perfect. We are not sinless. We are simply saved.” xoxo

  11. Authentic faith. So important for community, family. I always remember what Rick Warren said about leadership in The Purpose-Driven Life: “Do you want to impress people or do you want to influence them.” When we share our weaknesses and walk in transparency, we have more influence!

    1. That’s a great quote, Betsy. Willing to live authentically invites others to do the same, and gives them the assurance that they aren’t alone in their weaknesses. Thanks for being here, friend.

  12. “… our grace place…” My heart just exhaled… if we’re going to be real and open and transparent, we need to fill up on grace, from Him, and hope others will extend it too… what a ministry that becomes!!! Yes!
    Love you girl, keep blogging your heart out!

    1. Don’t you just love that exhale? I had originally written some words about how in that “grace place” I could finally breathe. They didn’t make the cut, but you got it, friend. Grace is such a beautiful ministry friend, and one that so many need to be welcomed into. Love you back, and you know I’ll keep writing if you do. ;)

  13. Amen. There’s nothing better than “real”. Real cheese, real butter, and real gals who are running after a very real God. Tiffany, I’m supporting you and cheering you on. Oh, and running the very real race right alongside you. Go God! #tellHisstory

    1. Okay now, you’re just taking it to a whole ‘nother level with the butter and cheese! ;) I’m beyond words grateful for your real friendship and for you cheering me on … for us cheering each other on. Go God and Go Kristi!! xoxo

  14. I love the insight you share, Tiffany. Being authentic and honest makes others feel less alone. This is so true and essential – “Our desire to encourage others in their faith by living ours openly, can’t come before we seek God honestly.” Without “allowing God to sift through our thoughts,” we truly cannot point others to Him. Thank you for sharing the truths God has taught you.

    1. And thank YOU for taking the time to read them. :) I’m so grateful for the things God has taught me on the road less traveled. I hope that it just points others to the incredible opportunity of an authentic relationship with the Lord. With Him, we never alone, but I’m so glad that we have each other. Hugs, friend.

  15. Tiffany, authenticity is huge with our kids & family as well. They know more than anyone if we’re faking it. Yes we’re sinners. Sometimes, doing the things I don’t want to do, grieves me so much. But it just reminds me of how desperately I need Jesus. Thanks you, friend.

    1. Amen, Lisa…I cannot fathom this life without Him. I think one of the beautiful byproducts of being honest with God is that it keeps us humble. We are well aware of our imperfections and we’re able to keep short accounts with Him. Our hearts are all the more grateful when we fully experience His grace toward our sinful state. Thanks for visiting me, friend. You bless me so. Hugs.

  16. I have a feeling I am just starting out on that road you were on 18 months ago…searching for authenticity within can be hard. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Now, I don’t feel like I’m the only one who has traveled this way; even though we are never alone. Thanks, Tiffany

    1. Oh, friend. The journey isn’t an easy one, but when God stirs up that craving for authenticity within your spirit, there really is no turning back. Nothing else but honesty and genuineness will do. I won’t lie – there were some hurdles, but it’s an incredible thing to look back with gratitude for what He’s taught me, and look forward expectant of what He has yet to do. Stay the course and don’t be swayed by status quo and common culture. God has good plans. And no, you are not alone. Feel free to reach out if you need someone to link arms with … or sit with at church! xoxo

  17. Tiffany, this is just perfect. Wow. I love every word. “Our fellowship as believers is not in commiserating over sin, but in being cleansed of it.” “By allowing God to sift through our thoughts, we ensure that we point others toward Him, not back to us.”
    I could go on and on. Thank you, sweet friend. You’ve written my heart, and much more eloquently than I could have done!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lois, which I’ve always found to be quite eloquent. I’m so glad that my heart echoes yours and for the sweet community and fellowship we’ve kindled. Blessings to you, friend.

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