What is Authentic Faith?

“Can I be real with you?” she asked from across the table, two lattes between us.

It was a simple enough question, but it meant the world to me. She was asking if we could shove aside the pretense and the pretending we were okay. Her question was a gate swinging wide and an invitation into heart-to-heart conversation about life—in the middle, in the mess, in the every day battle for faith.

God had been teaching me to live an authentic life before Him and others, and now there was someone in front of me who received me for me…and still liked me. 

Skimming through the pages of my past would find me surrounded by the opposite of honesty and integrity. I was wounded and deeply disappointed by those whom I believed loved God, but lived in ways quite contrary. That mingled with my own belief that perfection trumped transparency had left me weary, trust depleted, searching for a soft place to land.

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

As I scanned the landscape of Christian faith, I saw God stirring up a movement—people of faith willing to admit that, while we love Jesus with our whole hearts, we know we aren’t Him.

We are not perfect. We are not sinless. We are saved.

{Tweet that}

I knew then, that this calling to lay myself bare—to be real—wasn’t just a suggestion. It was a necessity, a command even. I not only needed to restore and reignite my faith, but I needed to empower others to do the same.

That charge opened my eyes to the beauty of authentic faith. As I took steps of obedience, God lead me to an incredible community of believers, a new church, and a sisterhood that lived wide open right alongside me. The safe place I so desperately needed.

My heart is to live out what God has and is showing me every day, but especially with the words that I lay down in this space—by speaking truth with grace, being honest about my imperfections, and creating a safe place for you to do the same.

Living life wide open can be intimidating, but authentic relationship with God and others deserves it. As believers, how do we live real? | Faith | Spiritual Encouragement | Christian Blog | Real Conversation | Strength | Hope | Bible Study | Wisdom | Instruction

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

  1. Be authentic and honest, but always accountable to God. 

There is something beautiful about our willingness to share our stories, both the mountains and the valleys of our faith. However, 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, misunderstood, and 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.

  1. Authenticity does not trump privacy. 

We have a Father who receives us as we are. There is nothing that we can’t bring to His feet, lay at His thrown, or process in His presence. (Hebrews 4:15) As such, He is our first line of defense. Our desire to encourage others in their faith can’t come before we seek God honestly and privately. There is no redemptive power in my story, but in what God does in and through me. 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.

  1. Proceed with wisdom and caution.

Being vulnerable 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 me, but feelings can also mislead. Being real doesn’t give way to cattiness, insensitivity, bitterness and divisiveness. (Colossians 4:6Vulnerability without wisdom 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 aren’t listening to what we say.

  1. Practice within 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 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 beautiful kind of freedom.

Authentic faith isn’t religion, it’s relationship.

{Tweet that}

There is no better way to honor the most valuable bond in our life than to be honest and humble—to be real. 

By His endless grace,

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Jennifer Dukes Lee – Tell His StoryHolley Gerth – Coffee for Your HeartKristin Hill Taylor – Porch StoriesLyli Dunbar – Faith on FireCrystal Storms – Heart Encouragement Thursday, and Arabah Joy’s Grace & Truth.

This post was revised from archives and originally published on Simply for One.


20 thoughts on “What is Authentic Faith?

  1. I love how you write beyond the typical classification of faith, it’s such a refreshment. Thank you for this!

  2. What I loved most about this is “Authentic faith seeks God first.” YES YES YES. I love your writing Tiffany…and I’ll just say it…this world NEEDS IT! Love you!

  3. These are some great reminders and thoughts. Having authentic faith that is purposeful is so important with our walk with God. I struggled a lot with finding authenticy for a while and it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I’ve really started to find that authenticy. Thanks again for your post!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Kaycee. I agree – being open and honest can certainly be a journey and a very intentional practice. Glad to hear you are finding your way. Blessings!

  4. Dear Tiffany,
    Thank you for sharing your vulnerable heart here–for living out that true authentic faith! I am so thankful that you have opened your heart to be honest with your words and lifestyle. I have been on that sometimes scary journey to be more open and honest with my faith. And, I am so glad that there is so much more talk about realness these days. However, it’s easy to talk about it, but still not be honest in the day-to-day living it out. I agree with you that it really does come back to living our lives with conviction in our relationship with God first of all. May you be blessed today!

    1. That’s true, Bettie – being authentic means that our words and actions line up. We have to be willing to walk the talk. I think that’s why it’s such good practice to start by being honest with God. There is nothing like that Holy Spirit accountability. I’m so glad you stopped by today and joined the conversation. Thank you!

  5. Hi Tiffany,
    You bring so much wisdom with this post as you encourage us to seek authenticity! But your overarching message is that we seek God first with our hearts and that’s the key, isn’t it? I yearn to learn how to better speak truth with grace and I feel as if I fail so often, yet that is what Christ models for us so I continue to pursue him in spirit and in truth. Thankful for your heartfelt posts!

    1. Hi Valerie! Such a good point and reminder – Jesus models that honesty for us, and following Him first is always our best first step. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight. Hugs!

  6. Great suggestions, Tiffany! We can always use more women who set out to live authentic faith – the world is drawn to that. Stopping by from His Grace Bloggers group. :)
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  7. My heart said “Amen!” so many times as I read this, Tiffany. Authentic faith. I love it! “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 beautiful kind of freedom.” It awes me how God accepts us as we are. Thank you for all your insight in how to live out authentic faith. Love and hugs to you!

    1. We can never grow tired of hearing how much He receives us, can we?! And that He loves us so much that He delights in transforming us more into His likeness. Thank for being here so faithfully, Trudy. Love right back!

  8. Beautiful words, beautiful God, beautiful you. This one made me stop and think a bit: “However, our fellowship as believers is not in commiserating over sin, but in being cleansed of it.” It’s so easy to sit and whine, fuss, complain, and such, isn’t it? But gritty faith goes to the Father for cleansing. Only He delivers. xo

    1. I think we can sometimes get stuck in that place and trying to resolve our sin in our own minds, and it can be hard if others give us permission to do so. Authenticity and especially authentic friendships are willing to speak the truth in grace – and send us straight to Jesus. Love you, friend! xoxo

  9. Tiffany, you have such a way with words and sharing truth in love. Another wonderful and encouraging post! God’s revelations to you and the way you share them are truly inspiring. xoxo!

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