Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Now, that's the 'real deal'

Today you will hear someone exclaim - that's the real deal - referring to something that is genuine, not fake, the real thing. Back in the day, Coca-Cola used "real-thing" to describe their soda. They were trying to establish that their 'cola' was the genuine cola - none comparing to the taste you'd find in opening a bottle of Coca-Cola. Let me just say, there is ONE "real deal" in this lifetime - it is Jesus. He is the "real thing" - the genuine article. He is not just another "thing" to be worshiped, but the only way into true and everlasting life - the 'real-deal' that connects us to God the Father. Try as some might, there is no 'counterfeit religion' that will do the same thing!

The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, he made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten. (John 1:9-13)

It is Jesus who brings us into light. Let me acknowledge that no one who has truly experienced light wants to willingly settle for darkness - there is something liberating about the light. Darkness has very little appeal after we have experienced the wonder of all light exposes - color, hue, form, etc. It is important to note that we don't somehow get into the light ourselves - he brings us into the light. The challenge of being blind is that we must trust another to guide us in our darkness - mom takes my arm in order to navigate a place she is uncertain about. A blind person must learn to place their faith in another - coming into step with the one who is "in the light" in order to move through the darkness. So it is with us - we need to trust in the one capable of bringing us into light - coming into step with him.

The world did not even notice him while he was here among them. It amazes me that the creator of the world, the one who sustains everything in this world, was actually in the world, right there living and breathing alongside human beings, and our fellow humans failed to notice him. Each of us has had a point when what has previously been a lack of focus for us suddenly comes into view and we wonder how long that object or solution has been right there in front of us. Most of our "revelation" of Christ in our lives is really just a discovery of what is already there. We just didn't notice it before - either because we were too busy, self-focused, or distracted.

If anyone wanted him, he made them comfortable to be their true selves around him. At best, we walk around trying to be what we think we should be. We have an "image" of what we want to achieve, how we want to be perceived by others, or what we present as the goals of our lives - something we put forward for all to see. No one knows us better than the one who created us. The 'real deal' himself is well-acquainted with the 'real deal' in us.  When take our car to the dealership, telling them it is making a certain noise, they are likely to know very well what to consider as the cause of that noise. Why? They made it!  Others mechanics not associated with the dealership may be "trained" to look for certain things - but at best, they can "guess" at the cause - they aren't as acquainted with the 'real deal' as the ones who actually make and sell those automobiles. The one who made the automobile "knows" - because he is the one that formed every part, placed every part into its particular use, etc. Jesus is the one who knows how we were formed - and he knows the purpose for each one of us. 

We are "God-begotten" - sure, we were all born the typical way - a sperm made its way into an egg and conception occurred. Most of us were born from a mother's womb, but today this 'connection process' between egg and sperm can occur in a test-tube in a laboratory. The fact still remains, the sperm and egg must come together and then the action of physical life begins - the 'real-deal' begins to take form. In a spiritual sense, the same must occur. The Spirit of God enters into our spirit, and spiritual life begins. We sometimes refer to this as the "new birth" experience. The "replication" of Christ's character begins to take place - until we are completely formed into his image, reflective of his character.

We become the "real deal" because we are inhabited by the "real deal"! What we once overlooked has become our very existence - every moment, every breath, every step. The absolutely amazing thing about this process of the "new birth" experience is that we come into a place where we are free to be exactly who we were created to be - our unique qualities on display for God's glory and at the ready for his use - the 'real-deal' is revealed. Just being real here!