Devotional

Are you the real deal?

Michael Ross-Watson // November 4, 2019, 6:00 am

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It is impossible to live a victorious Christian life without a clear conscience, being single-minded, sincere, transparent and without hidden agendas. This is the basis of Christian fellowship, writes the author. Photo by Lan Pham on Unsplash.

We often end our letters or emails with the words “yours sincerely”, but Paul begins his letter with the word “sincerity”!

The Corinthian Church had misunderstood Paul, and now he writes to share his heart with them. He says that whether they understand him or not, he has a clear conscience, has acted towards them in simplicity and godly sincerity, not depended upon human wisdom, and in what he writes there is no hidden meaning. “Don’t try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter.” (2 Corinthians 1:13, MSG)

In a word, he has been genuine, the real deal, authentic in all his dealings and never tried to deceive them.

2 Corinthians 1:12-14 says: “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Authenticity, examined

Let’s look more closely at these verses:

Firstly, Paul has a clear conscience, and knows in his heart that he has done nothing wrong. He is able to look people in the face without guilt or shame. How blessed to have a clear conscience.

The Greek word translated as simplicity means without duplicity.

I personally struggled for a long time over the way a fellow missionary had treated me. I was angry and never wanted to meet him again, but my conscience was troubled. Finally, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, I wrote to him and asked for forgiveness. God’s peace immediately flooded my heart and my conscience was no longer troubled.

Secondly, Paul has acted towards them in simplicity.

In modern English, the word simplicity means “uncomplicated”, but the Greek word haplotes translated here as simplicity has a very different meaning. It means without duplicity or double-mindedness. With Paul there is no hidden agenda. Some versions of the Bible translate this word as holiness, other manuscripts read honesty.

Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character and the beauty of authenticity!

Thirdly, Paul acted towards the Corinthian Church with godly sincerity.

He was transparent in a God-like way because he relied on God’s wisdom and grace and not on earthly and fleshly wisdom. “God wants us to be real and transparent in all our relationships. If we aren’t, we may end up lowering ourselves to spreading rumours, gossiping, and second guessing.” (The Life Application Bible)

It is impossible to live a victorious Christian life without a clear conscience, being single-minded, sincere, transparent and without hidden agendas. This is the basis of Christian fellowship.

John writes: “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character and the beauty of authenticity!

Reflection and Discussion

  1. If a person gets really close to you, what would they see? Would it be the same in the church as in the home? Are there areas of duplicity in your life that you need to deal with and for the Holy Spirit to transform?
  2. Can you sleep at night knowing that your heart, as far as is possible, is at peace with others and your conscience clear?
  3. Why are transparency and sincerity so important in fellowship?
About the author

Michael Ross-Watson

Michael Ross-Watson was born in Surrey, UK, in 1946. He became a Christian in 1963 and, together with his wife Esther, they spent more than 10 years serving as missionaries in Indonesia. Much of Michael’s ministry was based in Singapore, particularly at Church Of Our Saviour (COOS) where he was appointed as honorary pastor. Michael lived a full, faith-filled life and was loved by many. He graduated to heaven on August 3, 2017.