Certificate of Authenticity

diamondI can still remember the day I bought my wife’s engagement ring.  I had been looking around for a while, making sure I bought just the right one before I asked for her hand in marriage.  I had entered a jewelers fantasy of size, color, and grade and I knew immediately that I was in over my head.  Luckily for me, I had paid attention to the rings Keri typically wore so I had an idea of what would make her happy.  Once I settled on one and purchased it, I received a certificate of authenticity bearing the statistics of the diamond I had bought.  It was now official.  I was going to ask a girl to marry me!

Authenticity is such an important part of who we are as Christians.  People are naturally drawn to those who are authentic and genuine.  And isn’t it our job to draw people to Christ through the way we live?  Sadly, we sometimes hide our true selves for fear of rejection.  Blemishes are a part of life but we would rather keep those blemishes to ourselves than air them out for the world to see.  We don’t like our flaws so we assume no one else will either.  It’s just easier sometimes to put on a front, to show others the me we want them to see.

Facebook is a perfect example of not always getting or giving the real person.  Through the computer we can filter out what others see until we’ve created a fake reality that we ourselves don’t even recognize.  Family problems?  No way!  All of our posted pictures show big smiles and happy times.  Be honest about sin?  Not a chance when there are plenty of inspirational Christian quotes to post.

What really matters to God is what’s inside, not what we try to portray on the outside.  If we’re honest, that’s what others want too.  A true friend or a committed spouse want the real, authentic you.  Jesus spoke to this in his sermon on the mount when he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  Being pure in heart is where your outside and inside match up.  It’s the authentic, genuine you.

Jesus also warned of the falsehood of only cleaning up what everyone else can see. In Matthew 23:25-27 he says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, 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 may also be clean.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”  What a harsh rebuke!  We are called hypocrites if we fail to show authenticity in our lives.  We may be able to fool others, but there’s no fooling God.  He examines our heart (Proverbs 21:2).

We actually receive a certificate of authenticity of sorts.  We are given the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.  When we are being the genuine Christian God wants us to be, others will notice.  They will see it by our fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and they will know that our faith and our walk with Christ is real.  The real you is all you can offer.  Seek to be pure in heart and show God and others who you really are.

-Joe

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