Being real or authentic is an important part of the Christian life. As followers of Christ, we are called to live with integrity, honesty, and transparency. This means being true to who God created us to be and allowing others to see us as we really are—flaws and all.
In a world full of phoniness and pretense, being real can be challenging. We often feel pressure to put on a mask and hide our struggles. Social media promotes carefully curated images that don’t tell the whole story of our lives. However, the Bible makes it clear that God values authenticity. He wants us to live openly and honestly before him and each other.
Here are some key takeaways on what the Bible teaches about being real:
- God sees us as we truly are and values honesty and sincerity
- Jesus exemplified what it means to live authentically
- The Holy Spirit empowers us to live transparently and reject falsehood
- Scripture instructs us to speak truthfully and confess our weaknesses
- Authentic community requires mutual openness and vulnerability
- Our ultimate model for being real is found in the person of Jesus
Let’s explore each of these ideas in more depth.
God Sees Us as We Truly Are
A foundational truth about being real is that we cannot hide anything from God. He knows every part of us—even the parts we try to conceal from others or ourselves. Psalm 139:1 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (NKJV). Hebrews 4:13 declares, “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” God sees beyond our facades right into our inner being.
Since God already knows the real us, the only proper response is to drop our pretenses and come openly before him. In Psalm 51, David models authenticity after his sins of adultery and murder were exposed. He prays, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6 NKJV). David acknowledges his sin honestly before God, holding nothing back. This sincere confession leads to forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.
As believers, we do not need to fear condemnation when we are real with God. Jesus promises there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). However, coming into the light will prompt growth and sanctification as God reveals areas that need to change. Being real with God is an act of trust that opens us to His loving correction.
Jesus Exemplified Authenticity
One of the most powerful models of being real is Jesus himself. Though he was fully God, he was also fully human. Jesus experienced the same emotions, temptations, and limitations we face, yet without sin. His authentic humanity is evident throughout the Gospels.
Jesus openly expressed his feelings. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:35). He felt deep anger and grief over the hardness of people’s hearts (Mark 3:5). He showed tender compassion to the hurting and outcast. Jesus was comfortable in his own skin and modeled God-glorifying emotional health.
Jesus also admitted his limitations. At one point after an intense period of ministry he declared, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Though divine, Jesus depended on the Father while on earth. He often slipped away to desolate places to pray, drawing on supernatural strength (Luke 5:16). Jesus’ authentic humanity is a profound example of being real.
We also see Jesus’ integrity when critics tried to trap him. They often questioned him seeking to spark controversy or accuse him. But Jesus spoke truthfully and avoided pretense. When asked loaded questions about paying taxes (Luke 20:20-26) or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), Jesus gave thoughtful responses filled with wisdom and grace—yet he did not compromise. Jesus modeled true authenticity, grounded in who He was as the perfect Son of God.
The Holy Spirit Empowers Authenticity
Living authentically does not come naturally. Our flesh tends toward hypocrisy and superficiality. We all wrestle with insecurity, pride, fear of man, and secret sins of the heart. The Bible is clear that apart from God’s power, we cannot overcome these tendencies. Being real requires humility and reliance on the Holy Spirit working within us.
When Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, He said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 NKJV). The Holy Spirit enables us to live honest, sincere lives as He reveals areas that need to change. Galatians 5 explains that the Spirit produces godly fruit in us such as love, joy, patience, kindness and self-control. As we submit to Him, authenticity flows naturally.
The Holy Spirit also gives us the power to put off falsehood and put on truth. Ephesians 4 instructs, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25). Being real is not just avoiding lies—it means pursuing active truth-telling that builds others up. Only by the Spirit’s work can we live transparent lives.
Scripture Commands Honest Confession
Many verses in the Bible command and commend honesty, transparency, and confession—especially within the Christian community. Here are some examples:
- Speak truthfully: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25)
- Confess sins openly: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a)
- Walk in the light: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
- Be real about weaknesses: “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself alone, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry their own load.” (Galatians 6:4-5)
- Speak plainly: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
- Let love cover sins: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
These verses do not mean we must divulge every detail of our lives or sin struggles. Boundaries and discretion are still important. However, we must avoid wearing a church “mask” and be willing to admit faults, temptations, doubts, fears, and weaknesses. Honest confession fosters healing and intimacy in the body of Christ.
Authentic Community Requires Vulnerability
Being real is not just an individual pursuit—it is essential for true Christian community. Within the church, we often project an image of put-togetherness when the reality is many of us feel shattered and scarred inside. Unless we risk vulnerability with each other, our relationships will remain superficial.
This dynamic is seen in Jesus’ circle of disciples. Though handpicked by the Savior, the disciples struggled with ego, insecurity, and sin like anyone. At the last supper when Jesus washed their feet, He modeled the kind of humility and openness He wants in His church. Jesus says in John 13, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:13-14). Authentic community flows from mutual foot washing.
The early church walked in radical openness. Acts 2:42 describes them as a community “devoted to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” God’s power was displayed through their shared lives. James 5:16 sums it up: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Being real with fellow Christians leads to healing and spiritual breakthrough.
Our Ultimate Model is Jesus
In pursuing authenticity, we must remember our walk is anchored in Christ. Being real is not license to drift into narcissism, hyper-transparency, or making ourselves the main focus. As with everything, Jesus is our model for being real. His truth flowed from a secure identity rooted in the Father’s love.
The call to authenticity is not self-focused. It says, “I see and know the real you, and I choose to love you as Christ loved me.” It points others to the grace, mercy and hope we have in Jesus. Our ultimate purpose is bringing glory to God, not obsessing over our own self-revelation. Jesus demonstrated perfect honesty and transparency without making himself the hero.
As we grow in being real, we begin reflecting God’s truth, beauty and goodness to the world. People are thirsty for sincere, unfiltered lives lived under the shadow of the cross. May we embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in wisdom, humility, and authenticity—sharing Jesus with others through the open book of our redeemed lives.
Being real is a high calling for every Christian. It means dropping the facades, getting honest before God and others, and living authentically through the Spirit’s power. When we modeled in Christ who is Truth, people will see Jesus in us. We must pursue authenticity not only for our own health, but so that others may come to know Christ. In a fake world, the hope of the gospel shines through real, transparent lives. By God’s grace, may we be among those who choose honesty over hypocrisy and openness over pretense as we follow Jesus.