Signs of a Genuine Believer

 

Dear Church Family,  

 Being a pastor you meet all sorts of people from every walk of life.  The pastoral ministry makes for a very interesting study of personality and culture.  You meet wealthy and the poor individuals alike.  You meet people across the spectrum of political and social issues.  Then there are the religious folks.  They range from those who are genuine believers to those who are just cultural Christians.  I define Cultural Christians as those who are religious sounding yet follow the principles of this world.  So the question is how do you tell a genuine person of faith from those who are just playing a religious game.  So here are seven signs of qenuine believer. 

 

  1. A genuine person walks by grace. Recently I listened to a David Ramsey radio broadcast in which he said something that caught my attention he said “I try to walk by grace and show everyone that I meet what grace means” Walking in grace goes beyond giving a person the benefit of doubt or cutting them some slack.  Acting out grace means you walk with the other person, you forgive offences and you seek to build reconciliation. Grace always has an atoning component in its behavior.  It is very noticeable. 

 

  1. A genuine person knows who they are in Christ. In other words, they don’t pretend to be a super saint.  You know the type; they always use churchy language to appear more spiritual than others. They are quick to point out your faults but lack self perception when it comes to their own.  To know who you are in Christ is to accept your limitation and abilities both as a gift from God. You recognize that others may have abilities greater than yours but it does not make your gifts insignificant.  You understand your calling; you make the best of each opportunity and give of yourself freely.

 

  1. A genuine person has to be able to define their path.  This can take some time and maturity for most folks.  But as a general rule they have a sense of direction regardless of their maturity level.  You don’t always have a clear goal in mind but you have learned to walk by faith and not by sight.  You have assurance in each step.   You want to make a difference and your steps become more intentional as you grow and mature in your faith experience.  You’re just not doing time, your investing your life.  You are laying up treasures in heaven.   

 

  1. A genuine person takes responsibility for themselves. Not everything you put your hand to will turn out perfect.  Perfection is a relative term that constantly is on the move. Perfection can never be nailed down.  So there is always a critic wanting to pounce on you to show you where you were wrong or what needs to improve.  Criticism is like chewing gum, you chew on it awhile and then you spit it out.  Taking responsibility does not mean you have to answer the critics call or to bend over backwards to please everyone or you would go crazy.  To be responsible means that you know where you are going and you are taking steps to get there.  You invest the time and energy in the commitments you have made and do your best with what you have. Sometimes it does mean that you have to bear the consequences of a wrong decision or when you have misjudged a situation. You may even have to say that you are sorry.  You seek forgiveness when you have been wrong, you offer forgiveness when others were wrong and you reconcile where you can.  Being responsible is doing the right thing regardless of its cost.  A responsible person stays committed to the journey.  

 

  1. A genuine person is humble. For me humility is recognizing the sovereignty of God over your life in relationship to one’s own humanity. Everything you have is a gift from God, you really possess nothing.  All things, even life and death, belong to God.  He makes it all happen.  Humility places you at the center of God’s will.  You are trusting God with the journey of life.

 

  1. A genuine person tells the truth in love. To tell the truth in love seeks to correct a misunderstanding and or a behavior. It requires both grace and justice. Loving others is not just about making a person feel good emotionally; it can also mean correcting an injustice.  To correct an injustice certainly does not feel good but it does seek the greater good of all involved.  Justice can be the greatest display of love.  To tell the truth in love builds respect, honesty and trust.  It accomplishes clear structure and boundaries to function within. Sometime you just have to say it like it is.  Loving justice says no more to the drama and junk that people can dish out.  Justice can be very loving for it stands up for the truth, when it values the right, and it seeks to correct behavior.  To tell the truth in love is to hold others accountable, rather or not it hurts their feelings, for in the long run it builds wholeness.  Love stands for justice and truth.  Love stands for justice and truth in friendships, marriage, family, business and community. 

 

  1. A genuine person is servant leader. Genuine people lead with a servant’s heart.  They don’t view themselves better than others.  They just have a different gifting mix and opportunities.  Servant leaders have a way of lifting everyone up with them.  Some leaders are demanding and controlling.  They will manipulate situation and use others to get what they want.  A servant leader however moves everyone together along the same path.  A servant leader is willing to give a hand up.  A servant leader expects excellence and holds others accountable at the same time as they offer support and inspire confidence.   

 

Live such good lives among the pagans that,

though they accuse you of doing wrong,

they may see your good deeds and

glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:15 NIV

 

With Love, Pastor Jeff