How real are you?February 27, 2021
I recently listened to an interview of a well known Mixed Martial Arts combatant and it has provided some deep thoughts for my mind to process. For the uninitiated, MMA is a sport which combines boxing, wrestling, and some rudimentary street fighting into a singular discipline. It is brutal, raw, tough, and unscripted. The money paid to top fighters is large, but the pain of hand to hand battle can leave lasting damage and disfigurement on any one “brave” enough to get into the caged octagon.
The question that grabbed my attention was when the interviewer asked something like, “Tell me what draws you to getting into the ring and having to fight your way out.” Of all the clarifying answers you might guess for the answer, the one that was spoken was eye opening and provocative. “I’m naturally a shy person so I crave intimacy. When I step in the ring and lock eyes with the other fighter, I know something is about to go down.” No doubt about it, this type of occupation could be viewed as intimate. But here is a wealthy, and extremely tough, athlete publicly declaring a need for intimacy and authenticity. I’m happy that most of my friends don’t have the same appreciation for closeness as the one being interviewed.
This made me think about how real I am with others. Do I keep people at an arm’s length and only allow them to see the “good me?” As a pastor I don’t have it all together – and neither do you. We are broken people, living in a broken world, and we are known to use broken things to help make us feel like we are right and whole. Drugs. Pornography. Unhealthy relationships. Material possessions. If you can name it, my guess is that someone has tried to use it as a crutch to make their life feel more real.
In an era of Instagram Influencers and Tik Tok personalities, our culture is desperately hungry for what is intimate and authentic. Will you be that one? 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 shows a great example of investing in the lives of others. Paul said that he, “…affectionately long[ed]” for the people he had ministered to. He goes on to use the illustration of a dad and his children in verse 11. Be available and real to your friends and coworkers. Pray for their day. Remind them of the Hope found in Jesus. True and lasting hope won’t be found in things. It is only found in The One – Jesus.
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