My Messy Life Isn’t The Point (Even If It Means You’ll Have Cheesecake With Me)

44cb0-cross2bof2bgloryAuthenticity is apparently the latest evangelical craze, especially among women. When a blogger or teacher lets us see her “messy” life, she appears more approachable. Just like us, she has struggles with sin. What a relief!

The Bible unabashedly records the flaws of men and women commended as heroes of the faith. From Sarah and Abraham exploiting Hagar to the apostle Peter hypocritically reverting to Jewish legalism, otherwise strong believers in Sacred Text demonstrate the propensity toward sin that all humans possess. The most poignant example comes from none other than the apostle Paul:

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ~~Romans 7:13-20 (ESV)

Certainly, no teacher or blogger should give the impression that they’ve somehow risen above the temptations that “normal” Christians face. Doing so undermines the Gospel by insinuating that we can reach a point of trusting in our own righteousness!

At the same time, we can use “authenticity” as an excuse to showcase ourselves, rather than directing attention to the Lord Jesus Christ. An overemphasis on revealing our sins and weaknesses may really be a calculated attempt to attract followers. And certainly it denotes a preoccupation with self in place of adoring God and proclaiming His excellencies.

Two years ago, I discontinued a blog that, while it referred to Christ in almost every post, basically revolved around me. The Lord convicted me of my narcissism, leading me to start The Outspoken TULIP to focus women on Christ.

As our country moves toward persecution against Bible-believing Christians, we need less encouragement to feel better about our shortcomings. When bloggers and teachers prattle on and on about their “messy” lives, they subtly lull us into feeling better about ourselves instead of helping us recognize our need for Christ. He recedes into the background while the teacher or blogger assures us that we could have a gabfest with her over coffee and (if I’m involved) cheesecake.

As much as I want to make myself approachable, however, I’m more concerned with drawing my readers to Christ. Even more, I want this blog to honor Him, regardless of how readers feel about me.  I’ll gladly confess my sins when appropriate, and I definitely don’t want anyone thinking I’ve got it all together. But if this blog degenerates into something about me, it wastes my time and yours. Jesus Christ is the Person Who matters.

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5 thoughts on “My Messy Life Isn’t The Point (Even If It Means You’ll Have Cheesecake With Me)

  1. Leslie A

    Great post! It is just so important to find the right balance. I struggle to do that, too. People want to know you aren’t perfect but if we don’t draw them back to God and His Word, what good is it? Another problem I have with this kind of thing is that it would appear that there is never any victorious Christian living! Like we must be stuck in our “brokenness” forever. What a lie. While we will always battle sin, God does give us victory through His Holy Spirit and we should look just a little bit more like Christ every day. Thanks, Debbie, for a thought-provoking post. Wasn’t planning on such a long comment but I started thinking as I typed 🙂

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    1. DebbieLynne Post author

      The long comment is wonderful, Leslie! You’ve added an important dimension to the discussion. I hadn’t considered the aspect of demonstrating that there’s victory after brokenness. I think you’ve given me something to chew on!

      If you’re ever in Boston, let’s meet for cheesecake, Leslie! 😀

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  2. ruthvdb5

    I have also struggled with a “me too” mentality which lets everyone sigh a relieved sigh and sit back, “off the hook” so to speak. I think the authenticity is a good start. To realise that Christianity isn’t about “finally getting perfect” and then teaching others to be perfect too. However, I think, having shared our common struggle our response ought to be, “We ALL need therefore to look to Christ. We ALL need the forgiveness only He can provide. We ALL need the grace and enabling to change, which only He can give us. How can we spur each other on to be more like Him?” When we respond like this our eyes turn back to Christ and we are humbled and we give glory to Him! Thank you for challenging us in this way today.

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