Sometimes I find myself out in the community and someone says, “Hello, Phil,” and I recognize their face. In those instances, the name and the church where I met this person elude me.
The first thing that comes to mind, however, is that I hope I showed an authentic, “real” walk with Jesus.
The Lord Jesus was genuine. You cannot read the Gospels without being impressed with that fact. His life and His words said the same things. He taught His disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. Of Him we read, “Christ pleased not himself” (Rom. 15:3). He practiced what he preached.
He taught that whoever would be great must become a servant, and He said, “I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
He taught His disciples to keep the commandments, and He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10).
He urged His disciples to pray in secret, and He sent the crowds away as He departed into a mountain alone to pray (Matt. 14:23).
He told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to evangelize. He Himself did not enter His ministry until after His baptism, when the Holy Spirit, in the shape of a dove, descended upon Him. Then, full of the Holy Ghost, He returned from the Jordan to minister (Luke 4:14).
The Lord Jesus practiced what He preached. He was “for real.”
Let us look at the three areas of our lives where we especially need reality:
1. We should practice reality in our speech.
- There are so many evidences of unreality in our speech: deceit, injurious words, exaggeration, cutting criticism, and hypocrisy. Even our silence on certain subjects accuses us of unreality.
- Are we genuine in our speech? Do the things we profess to believe really hold us? Are we totally persuaded? We say that Jesus Christ is Lord. But is He really Lord? Does he control our time, talents, and money? We urge people to start the day with God. Do we ourselves spend time systematically in Bible study and prayer?
- We urge others to witness for Christ. Do we? Are we following in the steps of the Lord Jesus, the master soul-winner?
2. We must practice reality in our thoughts.
- The real Christian is the person through whom Christ is thinking. The mind of Christ has no time for selfish thoughts, proud thoughts, impure thoughts, or dishonorable thoughts.
- We are told to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8).
3. We must be “real” in our spiritual development.
- Are we more like Jesus than a year ago? Is God’s truth having its way with us? Are we experiencing greater reality in our prayer life?
- Are we stronger to live righteously and to serve mankind? Are we involved in God’s program of world evangelization?
It takes time to develop reality. Let us study all that Jesus said about hypocrisy until it moves us to act. Then let us cultivate the deeper life by an earnest personal approach to the Bible.
Let us yield continuously to the indwelling Holy Spirit, who will guard our words and thoughts as we pursue reality.
Jesus practiced what he preached. He was for real.