In preparation for teaching out of Ephesians this weekend in House Church, I did some poking around on the internet about how to tell the difference between a genuine Gucci bag and a fake one. Interesting stuff. Most of it common sense.
Check the stitching, there should be no loose threads. They only use leather – never plastic. While some fake bags have serial number tags inside the bag, the real ones include the Gucci logo. Basically, every web site I read indicated that the proof was in the detail, the small and seemingly insignificant. But in the end, some even admitted that even then, fakes are difficult to spot unless you are and experienced shopper.
But what about us? How can we tell whether you and I are the real deal, genuine, grade A Christian? Is it in the way we act? What about how we talk? Or, maybe we look a certain way that let’s people know we are Christian. I attended a Christian University that advertised themselves as being “distinctively Christian”. What they meant is that the young ladies attending their school wore only dresses that did not come above the knee and the young men wore military style haircuts and no facial hair. They also meant that we rarely struggled in life but were happy with the joy of the Lord. And to top things off, most truly Christian discussions revolved around spiritual things – mostly doctrinal discussions. I know, I know; one of my Profs from Seminary asked me how I survived! I’ve changed a bit since those days.
According to Ephesians 1:13-14, the Spirit’s presence in our lives, His ‘seal’, is what marks us as the genuine article. The word implies a guarantee of genuineness and it also implies “ownership” and it means we are ‘secure’. This is cool stuff. Packed into one word we get the picture of God’s ownership, protection and mark. But what I’m having trouble coming up with is an external answer to my question: “What does a Christian look like and how can we discern whether a person is the genuine article?” I think it includes the way we act, talk and maybe even look. But how? Are there measurable means of identifying a Christian without getting ridiculous in our definition (short hair for men, etc.) or even oppressive in our “discernment”? NOTE: You realize, of course, I have some ideas on the matter… But I am not going to the wall with them.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. I’m needing something tangible for the kids Saturday night. I’ll let the adults figure it out for themselves.