The title suggests there is inauthentic love. Since my focus is on ministry and marketplace leaders, I wonder what that looks like and what can be done for us to move away from inauthenticity and into greater authenticity. As always, let’s first turn to God’s Word to see what He has to say about this subject.
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1) Inauthentic love is like empty noise, lacking substance and true meaning, even if it appears impressive. It is not what we say, but what we do that counts. It is easy to sound good on Sunday morning, preaching a sermon, or at a board meeting giving a presentation. What counts is how we are behind the scenes when no one is looking except our family. Are we making time for them? Are we making them a priority? Are we honoring our spouses as Christ wants? Are we honoring our children?
Narcissism is a frequent problem for ministry and marketplace leaders. Many who look good on the outside are plagued with dirt (sin) on the inside. Every leader I’ve ever known is at least a little narcissistic. The question is this: “To what degree are you allowing your narcissistic tendencies to get in the way of authentically loving God, yourself, and others?” "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside, they are full of greed and self-indulgence." (Matthew 23:25) Here, Jesus criticizes the superficiality that masks inner corruption—an example of inauthentic love that focuses on appearances rather than genuine care and righteousness.
Authentic love is clearly described in scriptures, such as: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4) This verse beautifully encapsulates the essence of authentic love, highlighting its enduring and humble nature. God gave us the model for the most amazing love ever: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13) Christ calls us to lay down our lives as well and take up our cross. We must surrender our will and our way, and let Christ direct our every path. As successful ministry and marketplace leaders, it is easy to slip back into a position of command and control, making decisions and driving results. We can easily find that the ladder of success that we are climbing is leaning against the wrong wall. Are we reaching for worldly success, or eternal significance? The latter does not care about how many are attending church to hear us preach or what our title is in the marketplace. What matters is the ultimate expression of authentic love—self-sacrifice and putting others' needs above one's own. True servant-leadership.
Moving from inauthentic to authentic love involves a deep, introspective journey guided by the principles laid out in God’s Word. As ministry and marketplace leaders, it's crucial to embody the characteristics of authentic love—patience, kindness, humility, and selflessness—as these not only transform our personal lives but also profoundly impact those we lead and serve. By rooting our actions and decisions in the love described in scriptures, we can cultivate environments that reflect the true nature of Christ's love, thereby making a lasting difference in our spheres of influence, especially at home, where it counts the most.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
November 16, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.