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The True Value of Authenticity

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If you have spent any time at all around artists, especially Christian artists, you’ve invariably heard someone lament, “we need greater authenticity in our art.” As a worship artist and songwriter, I have been hearing this common refrain for many years. In my experience, it usually means that people want artists to stop “copying the world” or to stop using the same old language in our lyrics. While that is a part of what authenticity is, it isn’t ultimately the fullest understanding.

Our Father is quite concerned with authenticity, especially because it allows us to be more like Him and to impact the world around us in a greater way.

The concept of authenticity is rooted in the word “author”. Biblically, the Greek words translated as “author” mean to lead into something new, or to be the root cause of something. Hebrews 5:9 says of Jesus: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him”. The basic concept is this: Jesus is the root cause of our salvation, and not only the cause of it but the constant, emanating supply of our eternal life.

Salvation comes from Him because it is who He is; He cannot exude anything but salvation. Biblically, the idea of an author is one who creates according to the overflow within himself or herself. Being created in the image of God, we have the ability to “author” out of the abundance or overflow of who we are as well. That is why all creative expression speaks not only of the reality of The Creator Himself but also of the internal realities of the one who created the art.

Authenticity then is being true to the overflow of one’s inner realities.

It is giving genuine expression to the unseen emotions or thoughts within. As our example, Jesus walked in perfect relationship with the Father and ultimately laid down His life as the greatest demonstration of love. His inner reality of love for the Father and the Father’s love for us was given a most horrifying and glorious expression on the cross. This is the ideal of authentic expression.  Unfortunately, the reality is that many are expressing something that is true to their inward realities yet does not align with God’s best for their lives. However, the greatest good is released when, like Jesus, our inward realities are fully aligned with the Father’s plan for our lives and given authentic expression in the earth.

Authentic expression aligned with the heart of the Father is how we walk in authority as artists. Literally, the word “authentic” speaks of someone acting in their own authority. Authority (or, the right to influence) is a misunderstood concept for many, but it is vitally important. Authority is different and distinct from power. It is always delegated and is the way that God graces us to shift and shape the culture of the earth to reflect the Kingdom of Heaven.

Authority is amplified when we operate in authenticity; it is greatly diminished when we copy someone else.

A great picture of this is when David, still a shepherd boy at that time, made his way to the front lines of the battle and encountered Goliath. When David decided he was going to battle Goliath, King Saul offered him his armor (1 Samuel 17:38-40) – a generous offer, though unhelpful. Ultimately, David traded the kingly armor for the authentic expression of a shepherd’s staff, a slingshot, and five stones. Through this authentic expression, David operated in great authority (remember: he had far less power than Goliath, physically) and was able to shift the entire attitude of the army.

As artists, authenticity is about far more than just changing up the lyrics to a song now and then. It is an opportunity to walk in the fullness of who God created us to be and what He created us to do. Authenticity is a gateway to allowing the Lord to delegate His authority to us so that we can rule and reign with Him. We should be inspired to find our unique “voice” so that we can take down the giants that taunt and mock our culture. Too often, we fall into the trap of mimicking others or going with the status quo; in so doing, we forfeit the Kingdom authority that could be ours. As believers, we are the only ones who can release the substance of Heaven through our expression. Whatever our art form, let’s follow after Jesus and endeavor to do it with authenticity and authority.

“And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:22

Jamie Fitt

Jamie Fitt is a worship leader, singer and songwriter. He is the director of Philadelphia Tabernacle of David, a regional worship and prayer ministry.

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