There is an innate desire in us for that which is real and true . . . for substance without all the fluff.  Someone looking for love is not after an allusion or facade of love.  No!  What do they say? – “I want to find true love.”  In all the pursuits of our hearts like love, peace, security, fulfillment, whatever it may be, we truly want to find and experience the real thing.  The main problem though is that in and of ourselves we simply don’t know what to look for.  In our consumer driven world we have been taught to buy the package and not the contents.  We can live led more by our emotions, than reality.  God’s word reveals to us that we can only experience reality through the person of Jesus and the life changing work of redemption He accomplished (1 Corinthians 2:2).

We need the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts so we don’t trade the presence and power for mere polish.  I once heard someone relate the story of how at one time in their life they had done body work on cars.  They shared how they were able to repair, buff, paint and polish their own cars so that they looked great on the outside, but had one problem . . . they were not a mechanic so many of the cars didn’t even run.  You could ride by their house and see in the yard all these cars that looked great, but went nowhere.  Paul talked about some people like that in 2 Timothy 3:5 – they had an appearance (polish) of godliness but denied its power (the person and work of Jesus).  Jesus called the “religious elitists” He encountered whitewashed tombs that on the outside appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27).  If there is no life what difference does it make what image is projected?

There was a commercial years ago that had the slogan “Image is Everything.”  But without substance and reality, image is just a sparkling delusion.  Jesus came and freed us from having to live an illusion, by giving us a genuine relationship through the Spirit.  And the great news is that we didn’t have to go in search of reality and truth, because reality and truth in the person of Jesus Christ came in search of us!  Yeah!  Now life is genuine and real in Christ – He gives true joy and authenticity to our journey.  We don’t have to put on a mask for Him, or act like someone we think He wants us to be so that we can be loved.  He really, truly loves us and accepts us just as we are as a new creation in Him.

When we as the church make a trade off from the genuine for just mere polish we will at best offer a shiny, glittery package of empty entertainment that catches the eye and attention of many . . . but changes no one.  May we allow the Holy Spirit to fix our gaze on Jesus, that we might know Him and experience the power of His life in and through us.  I feel a need to apologize to many for what the church has offered in the name of Jesus, that has been just empty distractions and vain pursuits.  Jesus fulfills us with real relationship, while religion just polishes us for show.  May we see Jesus, may we grow in our trust of Him – He alone, is more than enough!

Love in Christ.

Pastor David Hughes