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Real deal or imitation

I have a friend who likes Dr. Pepper.  Actually, that’s the understatement of the year.  I really believe he would lay down his life, maybe even his family’s lives for the drink!  He loves it so much that when we eat at a restaurant that doesn’t offer it or if they try to offer him Dr. Thunder or Mr. Pibb as an alternative, he looks at the server as if they just committed blasphemy as he says “no thanks, it’s just not the same.”  Needless to say he is a die hard obsessed fanatic!  He wants the real deal.  You have to respect that.  It’s kinda hard to respect the person that takes the original of something and dilutes it to make a buck or two.  Ripping off someone else’s idea, where’s the honor in that?  I know someone else that will not buy the generic of Q-tips.  He insists that its just not the same.  My personal ear-cleaning choice is the cap of a pen!  There are some companies that have been so effective in selling their product they have literally changed the name of what it once was called.  Instead of, “could you pass me a tissue”, we say, “could you pass me a kleenex”.  Instead of, “I need a bandage”, we say, “I need a bandaid”.

Im a huge Mac fan.  I speak so highly of the product, I feel Steve Jobs should be paying me!  His product has simplified my life.  People ask me why do you like Mac over PC?  The best answer I can give them is, “it helps me get more things done, in half the time”, There’s something to be said about the product that gets the loyalty of a person.  The product has to be great in order for the person to not only like it, but sell it to his/her friends.  I think about my Christianity.  I wonder, is it the real deal or an imitation?  Is it Dr. Pepper?  or is it Dr. Thunder?  Is it a Mac? or a PC?  Would it simplify their lives, or make things more complicated for them?  I know the Christianity that Jesus started would defiantly sell!  People loved that guy!  The people that hated him were the imitators the “Dr. Thunders.”  He sold a product that was valuable, not watered down.  Somewhere along the way we’ve diluted the power of Christ.  We’ve taken a name that was great and turned it into something it’s not.  I heard that Coca-Cola is so protective of their secret ingredients that only a handful of people even know how to make it.  Of those handful, none of them know every ingredient.  Without the other ingredients from the other people, it would not be Coca-Cola.  I like Coca-Cola, it’s good, it’s a quality product.  Coke recognizes that value to the point that they lock the recipe up!  Jesus comes and shows us this awesome product–a product so awesome that nothing else compares!  Mac, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola–nothing holds a candle to Jesus.  And get this, he gives the recipe to us!  He entrust us with His recipe.  Some have taken the original recipe and made watered down imitations, they’ve taken what tastes good to them and poured out what they didn’t like.  That’s just it though, if you take one single ingredient, out of Coca-Cola, no matter how insignificant you feel that ingredient is, it’s no longer Coca-Cola, it’s an imitation, an impostor, a fake.

I want to live my Christianity in a way that says I’m the real deal.  No one (besides Jesus) lived it better than Paul the Apostle.  He literally tells people to “follow me as I follow Christ”, (1 Corinthians 11:1).  This guys was beaten with whips five different times, three different times he was beaten with rods, and once he had large stones throne at him!  Once he spent a whole night and day adrift at sea! (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).  C’mon people! If anyone was the real deal it was Paul the Apostle!  I crack up when people say there is no God!  If there was no God, Paul was one stupid man to suffer for nothing!  We each discover if we are the real deal when we persevere through the trials that are sent our way.  Anyone can serve Christ when circumstances are going their way…but it takes the real deal to serve Him when everything’s crashing in.  It’s the trials and circumstances of life that shows us what our ingredients are and what we are made of.  

I hope when people look at me they see the real deal; ultimately if they do, they will only see Christ.

“He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less.”  (John 3:30)