Keys to the Kingdom
My older brother and I have prankster blood in our veins. Believe me, we got it honest from both sides of our heritage. My family lived in California when I was preschool age and my brother and I had a special box of luscious-looking assorted chocolates. One typical evening, Aunt Pauline and Uncle John came over to visit. As they were preparing to leave, Randy offered our fun-loving uncle a piece of candy from the box. He thoughtfully selected one, bit down on it and nearly lost his false teeth on that piece of rubber cleverly disguised as fudge. We thought that was the funniest thing we’d ever seen and we laughed and laughed at our sidesplitting prank!
I recently drove past my friend’s house and spotted a crow in her yard. I thought it was real, but the others with me thought it was phony. So we had to turn around and take a closer look. Since the bird never moved, I was finally convinced — but it sure looked real at a glance. Dolores told me she named him Billy Bob, but I prefer to call him Bogus Billy Bob.
Are we believers the real deal or just a substandard imitation? That phony fudge might have looked edible, but when the rubber met the teeth, the proof was in the pudding. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8 NLT). We have to be sincere and obedient to God’s Word and His promptings if we want to be real followers of Christ.
Are we aiming at being the best Christian we can be, or are we just pretending to be genuine? There’s one defining factor that separates the genuine from the counterfeit and that’s love. Jesus was teaching His disciples in his last hours on earth and said, “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re My true followers” (John 13:34,35 TPT). No longer are we to love others as ourselves, but we must love others as Christ loves us. Jesus set a new higher standard of love that’s non-negotiable. Just how well are we maintaining that standard?
If you’re not practicing being a serious Christ follower, you might be able to pull the wool over people’s eyes for a time, but you certainly can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes. He knows if you’re phony baloney or rubber fudge. The good news is that God desires to help you be all that He designed you to be. He will enable you walk in love toward others if you really desire to do so. “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions“ (1 John 3:18 TLB).
Your heavenly Father does not want you to struggle in your journey of life. He wants you to come to Him and ask for help to be genuine and honest in all your dealings with Him and mankind. Be careful not to look at someone else’s life and wish you were him/her. By definition, that’s coveting. Therefore, it’s not possible to biblically love that individual and covet his/her individuality at the same time. In a nutshell, you’re the only person you are truly responsible for; so keep it bona fide. When you meet God the Father, the only person you’ll answer for is the real you.
The Key: Don’t settle for an imitation of the real thing — especially when it‘s you.