Starting from Scratch

People have much to say about authenticity. A simple Google search reveals an extensive array of articles on this topic, some from a Christian perspective and many from secular perspectives. Being a genuine person is something admired by the world, held high as an ideal to strive toward. Most of these articles describe what an authentic person looks like without truly touching on how to get there.

Amidst all the "self-help" and other advice for reaching authenticity, most of which focus solely on self, I propose we begin at another starting point. That starting point, interestingly enough, has nothing to do with examining self initially. Instead, I propose we start by looking at the Person and Character of God.

Proverbs 19:23 tells us, "The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied..." Obviously when speaking of "life," this verse is not referring to the literal state of being alive physically. People breathe in and out every day, living beings, but they do not fear God. They are still missing "life" as described in this verse. Therefore, there is more to this verse than can be taken at face value.

The phrase "the fear of the Lord" appears 11 times in the book of Proverbs. Each of these times, it is described as being the beginning of some ideal - knowledge, wisdom, life. This, then, is the starting point of true spirituality, as it is the starting point of life. Again, we are not talking about physical life, but of life eternal. Life beyond biology and the limitations of this earth, but also including biology and life on this earth. It is a holistic life, encompassing every bit of the person.

Maybe we should back up a little before we go any further. I think of the title of the popular show "The Walking Dead" when I think about this concept. In a sense, humanity without Christ is the walking dead. Ephesians 2:1 describes the human condition like this: "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world...." In other words, people are physically walking around today but are spiritually dead.

One can hardly be a genuine, authentic person when you start from the point of being dead in your sins! A person without Christ may possess some admirable qualities and may be considered a "nice" or "admirable" person. But without the power of Christ in that individual's life, he is still dead in his sins. If you find yourself wondering if this might be you, check out this website to find out more about how to become spiritually alive through Jesus Christ.

Back to my original point, then: we want to start at the point of life, and the beginning of life is the fear of the Lord. To fear something, one must have an accurate understanding of its power. What is the nature of this thing/person/concept that it requires, demands even, fear and respect from others? This is where we will start as we seek to understand the Lord of all.