1 Peter 1:7 These (all kinds of trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Have you ever thought about the difference between what’s real and what’s artificial? Depending upon the circumstances it might be irrelevant or it might be significant. I don’t think we’d want to bite into artificial fruit – we might break a tooth; but seeing a bouquet of artificial flowers is another thing. But you sure wouldn’t expect to see a garden of artificial flowers. Context can make a big difference.
Personally I love bouquets of fresh cut flowers. Springtime is particularly wonderful when daffodils, hyacinth and blossom trees are in full bloom everywhere. But many are the times I’ve experienced the disappointment of being attracted to plants or bouquets only to discover they weren’t real.
I remember years ago we were being shown around a friend’s big new home. The wooden furniture in one room was amazing. At least it was amazing until we touched it and discovered that the ornate fronts of each piece were plastic. They were pretty but it seemed the intention was to have the furniture give the appearance of being something it wasn’t. It wasn’t genuine.
Do we realize that any discussion of real versus artificial takes on a whole different dimension when we talk about our lives and relationships? What kind of ‘front’ do we put up when we go somewhere? . How often do we hear of marriages breaking up and it comes as a total surprise to even close friends or family? Instead of a genuine quality relationship, the representation of the marriage was artificial.
The same problems can appear in individuals, families, friendships or working relationships. The issue isn’t to broadcast our problems to the world but to recognize the importance of our lives; that as Christians – Jesus followers – they must be the real thing. There are times when we need help to get through stuff and we mustn’t let pride get in the way. Beautiful gardens don’t happen over night; they take work. So do quality lives and relationships.
We must take advantage of the grace, mercy, instruction and resources that God gives us; plus the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to become the genuine reality that He desires. When we do, our lives are real – not artificial – because they are the work of His of hands. He is the potter – we are the clay.