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  • Writer's pictureMadi Franquiz

Abundant Christian Living Through Embracing Unpolished Faith

girl with head out of sun roof


ABUNDANT CHRISTIAN LIVING THROUGH EMBRACING UNPOLISHED FAITH 


I have recently been a part of a community group at my church called Courageous Hope. It has been a place to bring all my baggage and to be consistently pointed to Jesus. Sin is not condoned; truth is spoken in love. And there is no condemnation for any who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-3). There is something so freeing in being a part of a community like that. Community done right. What a concept, huh? Yet, I have been a part of, and taken part in, a community that has not been like this.


In a world fixated on perfection, where the pressure to conform and sanitize ourselves is ever-present, the call to be more polished echoes relentlessly. It's a demand to be more pleasing, to fit into a predetermined mold, to perform flawlessly, to epitomize perfection - all to meet the world's elusive standards of acceptability. Yet, it's an utterly unjust standard. We're repeatedly urged to play the game, yet the rules remain obscure. What is this game? How do we play it? What are the rules? The truth is, the game is rigged; it's designed so that we can never truly win. There will always be someone deemed prettier, smarter, or more successful. Like a dog relentlessly chasing a traveling sprinkler on a scorching Texas day, we find ourselves in a perpetual pursuit of an unattainable ideal. This chase not only shapes our thoughts and perceptions but also molds our beliefs. And when we allow the world to dictate our beliefs, we, as Christians, risk becoming worldly and, consequently, ineffective.


There Is No Such Thing as The Perfect Person or Perfect Church

Every religion but one is about how mankind can, and must, work its way to God. Yet, Christ came to do away with that completely. Sadly, the modern church body has allowed the pursuit of perfection to seep into our doctrine. We’re bombarded with expectations and standards that often contradict the very freedom that Jesus bought on the cross at Calvary.


I want to put a pin in this here to provide some clarity before some grab their knives, pitchforks, and call me a heretic. I am by no means accepting or encouraging lifestyles or behavior that the Bible explicitly calls sinful. I’m going to quote the Apostle Paul here because he says it better than me:


“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” - Galatians 5:19-21


God makes it very clear in His word that those who practice unrepentant sinful living will not inherit the kingdom of God. And there’s a reason why God establishes boundaries and guardrails around sin - it’s because the things of this world will burn our hands every time we pick them up. But, let’s not get it twisted- the word of God also has a lot to say about His religious “people,” as well.


Performing for Jesus

Recently, during a speaking engagement, I experienced a profound encounter with a young woman affiliated with a college Christian organization. Our conversation ignited something within me—what I might call righteous indignation. We were scheduled to serve on a panel addressing high school-aged girls. However, one panelist failed to show up, leaving us in need of a replacement. One of the panelists had brought her friend along as support. However, one panelist failed to show up, leaving us in need of a replacement. The friend of one of the panelists, whom we asked to step in, expressed her apprehension:


“I can’t do that. I haven’t had time to prepare. I have to be on. It has to be right. What happens if I mess it up?”


The palpable panic in her voice struck me deeply. Here was someone so young and so evidently confident in serving the Lord, yet burdened with immense pressure and worry about delivering the right message to young women who needed to hear about God’s grace through her.


She eventually went on to speak on the panel and did an absolutely incredible job. But of course, I was curious and intrigued, so I sought insight from her friend, who responded matter-of-factly:


“It’s just how it works when you work for the church. You have to be on. It’s a lot of pressure.”


Yeah, maybe. But it shouldn’t be.


Woe to the Pharisees

Somewhere along the timeline of church history, we lost something integral to our faith. We seem to have forgotten that God used deeply flawed, imperfect individuals to accomplish incredible feats. When Christ entered the world, He shattered the preconceived notions of the religious elite. His arrival wasn’t the grand spectacle they anticipated—a victorious king or a warrior hero. Instead, He associated with the marginalized and He challenged the status quo. He presented an entirely different take on “pure and unadulterated religion,” then the religious elite were accustomed to (James 1:27).


The religion of the Pharisees was one of rules and elitism. They added numerous rules and regulations, far beyond those outlined in the original Mosaic Law (think Leviticus and Deuteronomy). It's estimated that they developed around 613 additional commandments, creating an extensive system of religious observances and practices. These extra rules were intended to provide detailed guidance on how to live a righteous life according to their interpretation of the Law. However, this legalistic approach often led to a focus on outward observance rather than inner transformation and genuine relationship with God. So the Pharisees thought they were doing everything right, and then Jesus, God incarnate, burst onto the scene and shook their religion. The gospel of Matthew records one such encounter:


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin. But you have disregarded the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.,”

-Matthew 25:23-26


Earlier in the book of Matthew, Jesus says that if our righteousness did not exceed that of the Pharisees and Sadducees we would not see the kingdom of God. (Matthew 5: 12-20). 


These religious people were perfect by human standards, but their hearts were far from the heart of God. They made a practice of doing the right things. But their desire for perfection came from the desire to impress others with how holy they were. That’s a big hole in their holiness if you ask me.


And we do the same today. Because we get so caught up in our own righteous acts, serving the Lord, doing all the right things, we miss the heart of God for us. We worship Jesus with our words, but our hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:7-9).


Letting Go of Legalism to Embrace Unpolished Faith

Many faithful Christians, and even those serving the Church body, find themselves entangled in the web of legalism that Satan has so carefully crafted, worried about behavior change not heart change. It’s a rigid adherence to religious rules and regulations that often stifles spiritual growth and authentic connection with God that dates all the way back to its “phareseutical” roots. However, there is a liberating alternative—an embrace of unpolished faith, characterized by vulnerability, authenticity, and a deep reliance on God's goodness and His grace. The reality of our walk with God is really quite simple. That’s probably why it’s so confounding. It can be encapsulated in the book of Micah: 


“He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

 and to walk humbly with your God?.” 

-Micah 6:8


So simple, and yet we overcomplicate the crap out of it because it’s human nature to make hierarchies, rules, and strive to compare one another. That's not how God wants it to be. That’s why this little corner of the internet is so important to me.


For me, the past four years have been a whirlwind of challenges and revelations. Somewhere between moments of obedience, hard knocks, and relentless hard work, the Lord showed up in ways I never expected. Through it all, one lesson stands out: God is not looking for perfection; He's looking for willingness. It's been a journey of surrender and discovery, realizing that my worth is not defined by perfection, polish, or performance. In my early years, I bought into the lie that the world fed me: that success equated to love and respect. I chased perfection, believing it would grant me everything I desired. But I soon discovered that true love comes from vulnerability, and genuine respect stems from authenticity. It was a paradigm shift that reshaped my goals and priorities.


For me, this process of creating a podcast and creating a community has been an exercise of faith. It's about laying down my incessant pursuit of perfection and allowing the Lord to work through this platform as He sees fit. I’m really good at acting like I have it all together, but I must confess I could be the Conductor of the Hot Mess Express. Faking fine isn’t liberating anyone from bondage. So I say, no more faking fine. Here, you’re going to find me writing about the tough and uncomfy parts of the spiritual walk. This season on the podcast, you’re going to hear me talk about my most recent dry season in my walk with Christ, my Martha-like tendency to strive for acceptance through works, my party years in college, overcoming trauma, and more. It's all out there with the hope of guiding you toward the freedom found only in Christ. We have a Savior who was perfect so we don’t have to be; so the pressure to perform, adhere to legalistic rules, or self-condemn is unnecessary. Rather, it should lead us deeper into a love relationship with Jesus. 


My promise to you is that I will bring the truth to you each week. I want everything that Unpolished stands for to revolve around carving out a safe space on the internet for women to be vulnerable about their struggles, doubts, and honest about their devotion. And I know that’s hard; believe me, I’m right there with you. So, we will do this together.


It’s time to put away legalism and every other “ism,” in favor of abundant Christian living. I’m exchanging my righteous acts, which are like filthy rags before the Lord (Isaiah 64:6), for something more meaningful, a white robe dipped in Jesus’ blood. Without Him, we can do nothing. Yet in Him, is everything we need for a Godly life (2 Peter 1:3). Praise God!

 

Yes, friend, I am a fallible being, completely unpolished, and imperfect. But in my weakness He is strong, and that’s exactly how God gets the most glory. 


Friends, that’s the real stuff. 

That’s the good stuff.


So, let’s begin.



If you're interested in hearing more raw and real content, check out this week’s episode of Unpolished Faith with Blake Guichet, from the Crappy Christian Co and host of the Crappy Christian Podcast. Our hope is that this episode will help you to build strategies to break free from a performance-based faith and encourage you to engage with the world during challenging times!






After you listen, let us know what you think of the conversation by leaving a comment and review. 


You are loved. 

-M.



1 Comment


Gavin Efurd
Gavin Efurd
Mar 06

What an encouraging post. I think this blog will be a light to my day. Excited to se what comes next.

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