As I was getting ready for church this morning, I happened to catch a news story that settled into my spirit. There is a law firm that has made it their business to call out those companies who advertise their products but neglect to be truthful about the ingredients. Point of this particular story was a soda that claimed to have “aged vanilla” which would, of course, appeal to many consumers. Upon investigation, however, it turns out that there is no “aged vanilla”; in fact, there is no vanilla at all. The flavoring is actually a chemical which provides the taste, but is not vanilla, aged or otherwise.
Of course, there was discussion in the story about whether or not this was a good thing – to expose the false advertisement and thus, uncover the authenticity of the product because the lawyers, of course, would benefit monetarily. Consumers who submitted proof of purchase would be reimbursed a few dollars with a victorious suit. But the main point of the reporting was about truth. Was it ok for a consumer to be told they were buying one thing and, in fact, their money was spent on a lie, on ingredients that were far removed from what was advertised.
This stuck in my spirit. I began to think about the “advertisement” I do as a Christian. I’ll keep it “in the first”. If another person would read the list of ingredients I promote as a believer, and then compare the label with the evidence, what would be revealed?
How would someone know if what I write on my “label” is in actuality the content of this Christian?
I suppose the bigger question is, how am I representing the One I say I follow? Am I real? Am I authentic? Am I a true product in every sense of the word?
Here is at least one, but perhaps, the most important ingredient….at least in my mind.
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Amplified Bible even adds a little more: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
OK then…..by this I must understand that when I do not have love and that behavior is held up to scrutiny…..it is very possible that my self-administered label of Christian does not meet the criteria by The Manufacturer’s standard…..meaning, I have wrongly mixed something other than the intended ingredients.
Love one another…..unselfish concern….
Right away I can tell you, I am not able to fulfill that command. Not in the least….unless I allow that love to be placed inside of me by the One who is love.
When I co-dependently “love” someone, even appearing unselfish and caring, if it is not the love of Jesus and if I am trying to rescue, control, or fix from a place of fleshly nonsense….well, as you already know…..it’s not the love Jesus is talking about.
“They will know we are Christians by our love”…..as the song goes…..
I want to be real. I want to be authentic. I want to be the vessel created on the Potters Wheel that He fills with His genuine love.
Ephesian 2:10 “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Created anew in Christ Jesus….I can love as He loves….. I can be the authentic real deal. My label can be true, transparent, and transformative, representative of Who lives inside of me.
Now that’s a label I want to wear faithfully and forever.