Prayer and Reflections

Genuine or Artificial?

You will know them by their fruits.
- Matthew 7:16

I wrote recently about the importance of examining our soul to discern its wellness. Another crucial element for consideration in today’s world has to do with the authenticity of our faith. Is it genuine or artificial?

When I see someone with an unusually large diamond ring, I think, “Is it real or an imitation?” During a recent time of introspection, I wondered about my own authenticity. Do I come across to others as real or artificial? Are my words, attitudes, and actions a reflection of the Holy Spirit gifted to me at the time of my salvation? Is my focus on imitating Christ rather than being infused with Christ? Am I more concerned about obeying legalistic rules than being open and honest about my own sins and weaknesses? Am I trying to earn salvation or living out of gratitude for the gift of grace I have received? Do I seek applause or attention for myself or do I motivate others to seek the Jesus I serve? Do I inspire others to climb higher or dig deeper in their own spiritual growth? 

How flashy or large a wedding diamond may be doesn’t determine the quality of the covenantal relationship it represents. In the same way, religious actions don’t always reflect the real depth of our faith and relationship with God. There seems to be more emphasis today on being politically or legalistically correct than on being genuine and allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest through us the light and life of Jesus Christ. Just as you can only tell the genuineness of a real diamond by inspecting it under a light, you can only tell the genuineness of your faith by the light of God’s Word.

Jesus identified one of the main fruits of discipleship when He said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). We read in 1 John 4:9: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” Loving others is a sign of genuine devotion to Christ. A fearful, bitter, or contentious spirit is not of God. Which of these do I reflect in daily interactions with others?

Perhaps no greater ‘test’ of our genuineness is how we react to the trials and storms that are an inevitable part of life. Do we respond by feeling victimized, self-pitying, or lashing out in self-righteous anger? Or do we trust God and His power to work all things together for our good and His purposes? (Rom. 8:28) 

Each trial tests the authenticity of our faith. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Like the oyster that endures the struggle in order to produce a pearl, we, too, struggle with an inner conflict between our own sinful nature and the character of the Holy Spirit in our effort to exhibit a godly witness. It is through the trials that seem to increase the more we seek Him, that we have the opportunity to reflect His nature as we stay focused on Him and not our situation. 

Being genuine has more to do with who we are than what we do. It requires time, prayer and searching God’s Word for pearls of wisdom to transform our minds and hearts and motivate us to act in ways that honor and glorify our Savior. Be genuine. Don’t settle for an artificial life.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Gal. 5:25

It is the Holy Spirit’s life within
That draws us to God above,
And through His power and access,
We can know the Father’s love.

It is the Holy Spirit’s convicting power
That exposes our sinful ways,
Then comforts us as we repent,
Prompting us to worship and praise.

It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us
God’s words of truth and light,
And applying them to our daily lives
Guides us in what is right.

It is the Holy Spirit who comforts us,
As no other Spirit can,
And in times of pain and brokenness,
Reveals God’s greater plan.

It is the Holy Spirit that sustains us
And gives courage to overcome
As He leads us through life’s valleys
To our eternal, heavenly home.

Reflections Of His Spirit: Discovering His Power Within
© 2019, Doris Haver Rouse