Remember when grocery shopping was fun and the labels on the products actually told what to expect when you opened the package, bottle, or can? Dad and I would go grocery shopping every Friday evening. We carefully checked the list Mom had prepared, and we made sure that we got Graves® peas, Heinz® chow and ketchup, Del Monte® canned fruit, Clark® beans, and Aylmer® tomatoes. Why was it so important that we get these names? Mom told us that there would be no surprises — the labels told the truth, and the product always lived up to its name. The listed ingredients were simple and understandable even by a child. The name said it all — it was the real deal!
Grocery shopping today has become a chore that sometimes takes way too much time, and may leave some doubt as to what is actually inside that can or bottle. The listed ingredients are written in a code with long, unpronounceable words making us wonder if it is edible! The caution ringing in our ears over and over is, "If you can't pronounce it, then don't eat it!" There are times when, having spent over an hour reading labels, checking ingredients, and trying to figure out where the product came from (since the product is repackaged by the distributors and may have travelled halfway around the world before reaching the store!), we may get to the check-out with only a few groceries.
Do we really grasp the full meaning of the label "Christian" as it applies to each one of us? Is this label accurate? What are the required ingredients of Christians? Here are some clues:
Galatians 5:22-23a – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (NKJV)
Ephesians 5:9 – For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. (NKJV)
Are these ingredients in us evident to all with whom we work, meet, talk, live, and play? Are we the real deal, or do we switch the label depending on where we are or who we are with?
How can we become more truthfully labelled? We can strive to live more like we are full of Christ.
James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (NKJV)
We can allow Him to teach us, guide us, and help us to be more like Him in all our words and actions every day.
Life is a journey, and there are going to be roadblocks, challenges, hurts, tears, and, yes, even doubts. He knows all that we will have to face in all circumstances every day! All He asks is that we take His hand and let Him lead us over and through the rough spots.
Prayer: Dear God, we have heard Your voice, and we want to be real for You! Help us to ask for Your help in being the real deal, so that others will recognize You in us this day. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.