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Growing up in one place your whole life can make for awkward conversations. We’ve all experienced situations like this:

Someone is walking your way looking at you with this, “I know you” kind of look. You stare back at them with this terrible feeling that you are about to have a conversation with someone you should know, but don’t.

Stranger: “Hi Jay! How are you?”
Me: “I’m doing great, thanks for asking. How are you?”
Stranger: “Good … good. How are your children, the twins, doing? I love reading about them on The Facebook.”
Me: “Yeah, they are crazy as ever. They keep us busy.”
Stranger: “How is your mom?”
(You would think this would help me on some level, but it doesn’t, because my mom knows everyone. She remembers everyone. If she doesn’t know them personally, she knows someone who knows them, and sooner or later they’ll be friends too. She’s connected. The more I think about it, the more I realize there is less distinction between a mob boss and a life-long kindergarten teacher. She goes way back with everyone. She remembers when you were still learning to go to the bathroom. She knows where the skeletons of your past are buried.)
Me: “Mom is great… you know her, still teaching!”
(This is where I get tricky.)
Me: “What do you know good?”
(I am looking for any chance I have to grab hold of something that might cause me to realize who this stranger is. This is my chance to glean information without admitting I’m clueless.)
Stranger: “We’re doing fine. You know Jennifer, she had her third child. She lives in Kentucky know, but you knew that…”
(Still stumped… Everyone my age that is a girl is named Jennifer. )
Me: “That is great, please tell her hi for me. I’ve got to run, don’t want to leave my wife alone too long with those crazy twins, it was good to see you, I’ll make sure to tell my mom you said hello.”

We both walk away smiling. Wasn’t it great to catch up with people you don’t know? It happens at some point to all of us.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus preaches a sermon while on a mountaintop. In a way that only Jesus can do, he cuts right to the heart of the issue with each topic he brings up. In chapter 7, he reveals something we all wish wasn’t true. You can’t fake God into thinking you know Him.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matt. 7:21–23, ESV)

All throughout Scripture we see this concept of those who fake. You can fake holiness. You can fake piety. You can fake morality. They are all fakeable.

From an outside perspective people can think you are the greatest and nicest person ever. You can even fake love. Is it possible we spend more effort on being fake than genuine? Does that sound crazy to anyone else?

A sobering conclusion: God isn’t impressed. He isn’t fooled, or even happy with the “good” things you’ve done in His name. God doesn’t want your pleasantries; He wants your heart.

You can call Him, “Lord,” you can tell other people about Him, you can "Mother Teresa" yourself to the point of exhaustion, but if you haven’t truly given God your genuine, 100 percent self … your fake actions will give you a very real consequence.

The challenge for us: Authenticity in Christ. There is no point in faking it – HE KNOWS. There is no pretending you can talk your way along with him, and eventually he’ll walk away smiling thinking you both had connected in a special way.

How can you be real with Christ? God wants the real you. He wants the scared, broken, hurting, intimidated version that you truly are. He’s not looking for fake conversation; God wants transformation in your life through Him. This happens when we stop faking it, and start getting real with Christ. He can handle it. Can you?

For the original article, visit authenticmanhood.com.

Jay Watson is the pastor of Life Community Church, in Nolensville, Tenn. His heart is for people, and in many ways, he’s a pastor’s pastor. Jay loves to tell stories, and can be followed on twitter @watsonjay. Information about his church and online sermons can be found at knowgrowdo.com.

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