“So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.”1 Peter 2:1-3
My youngest son loves chocolate milk. He doesn’t just love any kind of chocolate milk. It has to be made with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. One day as I stood stirring the syrup into a tall glass of milk, I noticed that the label read “Genuine Artificial Flavor.” I was shocked! What appeared to be real, looked real, and tasted real, was actually artificial! As I stood with my mouth hanging open in disbelief, I felt cheated, mislead, and deceived. Finally, I was able to speak out loud: “This is false advertisement!”
Earlier that morning, I had read today’s key verse. “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” At the time, the scripture didn’t seem to have much impact, but now the Holy Spirit was using the incident with the chocolate milk to speak to my heart.
As Christians I wonder how often we display false advertisement in place of genuine faith. Instead of feasting on God’s Word until it brings about real change in our lives, we taste just enough of God to pretend that our faith is genuine. We might know the right words to say, have memorized some key verses, and can even pray a prayer that is convincing to others, but inside we can’t convince ourselves that our faith is real.Eventually, we won’t be able to persuade others either.
How often do you and I fuss and fight with our families on Sunday mornings from the time we get up until we pull into the church parking lot? Isn’t it strange how the feuding stops there? It’s as if Satan jumps out of the car once we’re at church allowing us to return to our normally kind selves. Who are we fooling? Shouldn’t we be the same at home as we are at church?What about gossip? Pretending to build one another up in love, we camouflage gossip with prayer. “Did you hear about sister so-and-so? We need to pray for her. I heard that…”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve stood guilty many times. That’s why the Holy Spirit brought me back to our key verse. Each phrase of it motivates me. I need to examine myself for symptoms of malice, pretense, envy, and hurtful talk. I need to stay close to God and become a mature Christian in His eyes and an authentic Christian to others. I don’t want my life to be a false advertisement for Christ, and neither do you.
God never meant for you or me to pretend. Genuine faith is real. It comes as we feast on God’s Word and learn how to apply His ways to everyday living. It’s a faith that should be recognized by a changed life that others can see as well in our actions, our speech, and our works. Genuine faith is our best advertisement for Christ. Let’s be intentional about it.
Dear Lord, Search me for any signs of malice, pretense, envy or hurtful talk. Then, Lord, lead me in Your righteous ways. Make my faith strong and genuine so that I can be a faithful witness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Why do you think people gossip about others?
How does gossip and envy affect your faith and ability to witness for Christ?
What does being a mature Christian mean to you?
In what areas of your life have you displayed false advertisement instead of genuine faith?
Ephesians 4:22, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (NIV)
Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (NIV)
Ephesians 4:13-15, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (NKJ)