"Real." What is "real?" Webster's Dictionary defines "real", in part, as "not artificial, fraudulent, illusory, or apparent; genuine."
I believe, today, people are looking for something that is real. They're fed up with the artificial. They're incensed by the fraudulent. They're tired of the images that so many put forth to appear real.
What is a real Christian? Some would have you believe it involves wearing certain types of clothing or perhaps not wearing certain types of clothing. Some say to be "real" you must wear your hair a specific way, or your shirt sleeves must be a particular length. Some even believe that unless you attend their church you cannot be a real Christian.
Is "real" something you wear? Is "real" something yo put on and take off? Is it something you acquire or are born with? Is it being what someone in your family thinks you should be? Is "real" being what some preacher says you should be? Is it doing your own thing? Is it bestowed on some and not on others? Is it inherited? Is it distinguishable? If so, how?
Being a real Christian entails putting off labels and stigmas that we sometimes attach to certain groups of believers. Scripture tells us "...The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). It doesn't matter whether or not you call yourself a Baptist, a Pentecostal, a Methodist, a Presbyterian or any other label. What matters is this - Are you a real Christian?
To become a real Christian means to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. It includes repenting, believing and forsaking your sins (Luke 13:3,5). Receiving Jesus means being in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Old friends, habits and sinful appetites drop off. They no longer hold the allure they once did. In Christ all things become new. We receive a new life, new faith, new hope, new love, new joy and new peace.
As a child of God we should emulate Him in our thinking, our seeing, our hearing, our speaking, our doing and our going. We should look for the positive and good. We should be kind, compassionate and understanding (Colossians 3:12-13) - traits, I might add, we find too often missing in our churches today.
As real Christians, we are to represent the Lord Jesus Christ at home, at school, at work and at play - everywhere! We should seek to exemplify Him in deed and conversation. We can do this by offering words of encouragement, doing good deeds, and being a witness to the unsaved individuals all around us.
Being a real Christian, then, means that we are in Christ, like Christ, for Christ and with Christ for now and throughout eternity. Folks, it's time we examine our hearts and perhaps ask ourselves this question: Am I a fake or am I the real thing?"
Until next time...enjoy the journey!
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