Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Flavour

I got a little bit excited when I saw the new slurpee flavour while on holidays.

But I had to smile when I read the words at the bottom of the poster -
"Fruit images shown are illustrative of flavour only and are not ingredients of the product."

So Lemon Lime Bitters Slurpee has no lemon, lime or bitters and Wild Berries Slurpee has no berries. I'm guessing the same goes for other flavours on offer: Raspberry, Citrus Kick, Berry Ice, Orange, Strawberry Citron, Orange Mango, Sour Apple, Apple Blackcurrant, Blackcurrant, Lemon Squash, Grape, Kiwi Lime and Lime!

Why advertise the real thing, yet only provide substitutes? Maybe because of the cost. Maybe the real thing wouldn't easily combine with the rest of the ingredients. Obviously the artificial stuff is easier to source, store, transport and package.

Unfortunately the same is true in our everyday lives, and sadly, even for Christians. Jesus said in John 14:4 that He came to give us life, and life to the full, but so many of us settle for artificial pursuits that look good from a distance but aren't the real thing. Many of our churches experience the same problem, even if we can do a schmick poster presentation of what people can expect when they come along on a Sunday morning.

Church is more than turning up on Sunday mornings, and being a Christian is more than believing in God. Being a Christian, a follower of Jesus, is about receiving the real life that He offers, and then living that life every day. And 'church' can happen when anywhere from 2 or 3, to 200, 2000 or 2 million, followers of Jesus gather together, share life, share a meal, share in worship, share in prayer, share in service and share in teaching from the Bible.

Why do we so easily settle for something less than this then? Something that appears to be the real thing but lacks life? Maybe the cost is too great. Maybe the artificial things are easier to manufacture, easier to store, make looking good easier. Maybe we don't really want to give up those artificial things which give us the sense of security and predictability we are used to.

Maybe ...
real joy through thankfulness rather than wealth,
real peace through trusting rather than control,
real belonging through submission rather than membership ...
...wouldn't gel with the other things we hold as important like providing for ourselves, having things our own way, and experiencing church the way we like it.

Examine your own life. Could there be an area in your life which is all appearance and no reality? Which is just a thin veneer of spiritual reality but isn’t the real thing? Which gives the appearance of certain ingredients, of spiritual life, of having a devoted love for Jesus, but isn’t there?
Jesus had this message to the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2. "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance...Yet this I hold against you: You have forsaken your first love." I know you are doing all these great things, but you have forsaken me. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do those things you did at first. Reality is the most important thing, not the appearance.

I don't want to go into another year being a Christian but not walking closely with Christ. I am going to put a stop to the production lines, examine each ingredient and start from scratch. What others see might look a bit different. It wont always be the same. They might not even like it! But it will be real. Real Life.

This is where I'm going to start. Here is a song by Sidewalk Prophets called "You Can Have Me" (photos by someone else on you tube). It starts like this...

"If I saw you on the street
And you said "Come and follow me"
But I had to give up everything
All I once held dear and all of my dreams
Would I love you enough to let go?
Or would my love run dry
When you asked for my life?"

When I heard that for the first time, I didn't know what my response would be.

Today, I do. I pray that you will too.

my email


Traveller said...

Great post, Donna! Definite food for thought...

Lauren Delaine said...

I love your posts. They always leaving truly thinking. Sometimes my toes hurt. For that I am so grateful.