I ran across an article from Huffington Post that caught my attention. The article was titled “6 Signs You’re A Truly Genuine Person.” The article listed six ways people live according to their true selves. I was curious to see how I measured up, so I read the article. By the time I reached the third point I knew I would be writing on the subject from a spiritual perspective. I am always amazed when people “discover” truths that God has revealed since the beginning. God has been teaching people how to be genuine since the book of Genesis.
I think one of the greatest needs in our world today is for Christians to learn how to maintain a genuine walk of faith. Unfortunately, we like lists that teach us if we know these six or seven things, then we will have attained X or Y. We need to remember that knowing and doing have always been hard for people. Adam and Eve knew they weren’t supposed to eat the fruit. The Pharisees knew what God’s word said about the coming Messiah. You and I know what God says about loving others and forgiving others, just to mention two. Has knowledge been enough for you? (I’ll plead the 5th!)
Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman are “authenticity research pioneers.”
They found that the following six signs mean that a person is living according to his or her true self. I added the spiritual emphasis to their teaching points. Let me know if you agree.
1. Genuine people have a good sense of self-esteem. They are not arrogant, nor are they overly worried about their flaws. Good self-esteem is found in the middle. A genuine person knows that all people are capable of many things and that no one is capable of perfection. God’s Word put it this way: “Righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24). Christians have a genuine quality when they realize that no one person is better than another. On the other hand, those of us who have discovered our redemption in Christ have been abundantly blessed.
2. Genuine people embrace vulnerability. A person with strong self-esteem can admit when they are failing. You can receive criticism without crumbling. Negative and positive feedback affect the way you think about something you have done, not the person you are. Proverbs 27:17 reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” God will always give us other Christians to hold us accountable and help us. Occasionally, some of them can have sharp edges!
3. Genuine people share their true thoughts, beliefs and opinions with the world. No explanation needed. But God would add this clarification: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). I’ve known a lot of Christians, myself included, that don’t have much trouble sharing our thoughts and opinions – but speaking the truth in love can often be a struggle. Thank goodness genuine people can also embrace vulnerability!
4. Genuine people openly give and receive compliments. Enjoy the success of others. Recognize the greatness that is in others and be an encourager. Hebrews 10:24: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Compliment Christians for what you see the Lord doing in their lives. It may “spur them on” to continue their ministries. But, empty compliments are just that. Refer back to #3. Genuine people tell the truth.
5. Genuine people really listen and prefer deep conversations. Empty conversations are similar to empty compliments. I love the book of James, and this is one of my favorite verses: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). To that I would add: “One of the best ways to demonstrate God’s love is to listen to people” (Bruce Larsen).
6. Genuine people are driven by an inner voice rather than their surroundings. I think I could have written an entire blog on this one point. The Huffington Post article said, “When you have thought through what you think, what you feel, what’s important to you and why it’s important to you, that determines a certain sense of purpose and directive.” Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). When I wrote my book, Content to be Good, Called to be Godly, I titled the second chapter, “Do You Recognize the Voice of God?” I often tell people that the rest of the book really doesn’t matter unless they understand and embrace chapter two. Who is the author of your inner voice? I hope it is the Holy Spirit of God. Paul told the church in Corinth: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
D.L. Moody said, “More depends on my walk than my talk.” I hope all of us will walk in such a way that the world can believe the message of salvation. Genuine people have genuine faith in the genuine God. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Genuine Christians listen to that inner voice and then walk in it. Enjoy your journey!
This blog was originally published on August 12, 2014.