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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace

 

The Fake

 

 

We were out for a walk when we saw it!

 

It was perfect -- just a little too perfect. Beautiful colors, beautiful shape -- a spring flower that from a distance appeared real.

 

But up close…it felt hard, impersonal, fashioned through a mold -- lifeless.

 

My children ran to it, but when they picked it up, a look of disappointment glimmered through their eyes.

 

"Oh…it isn't real…"

 

They wandered away as the plastic flower dropped to the ground. The brilliant colors and shape no longer mattered. Inside it wasn't real. It was only meaningless, worthless, without purpose.

 

A fake.

 

This week, I've been thinking a lot about fakes. Sometimes what appears to be beautiful, productive, and full of life can in reality be full of emptiness -- a huge disappointment -- something of little or no value.

 

…empty words…empty encouragement…empty friendships…empty promises…

 

Jesus experienced this same disappointment. Walking along on a hot and dusty day, He was hungry and tired. Ahead of Him, next to the road, was a beautiful, leafy fig tree -- green, full of life, its branches reaching out and up to the world around it.

 

But when He got there, it had nothing…but leaves.

 

A fake.

 

This didn't come as a surprise to the Savior. He knew what lay beneath the beauty of the greenery. But He looked anyway -- He looked for the fruit that would bring nourishment to the world.

 

He looked…because love always hopes.

 

He looked for the fulfilling of the purpose for which it was created. He looked for the obedience.

 

And when it wasn't there, He cursed the tree.

 

Why? Because He was angry? He was weak and grumpy with hunger? Because things didn't go His way?

 

No. Because it was a fake. It wasn't as it appeared. The life-like tree was not life-giving.

 

It wasn't alive, as God intended.

 

Did Jesus really care about the figs?

 

Not too much. But what about life-giving believers? Does Jesus care about them?

 

Marvin was a life-giving believer…once. At least some say he was. But to be honest, no one really remembers back that far.

 

Marvin has attended the same church for many years. As a child, perhaps Marvin chose Jesus as Lord. But that was long ago. Age, life experiences, and stale Christianity have long ago dulled His relationship with Christ. Senseless tradition and rules have stolen His joy. Power has taken his humility.

 

Now, though Marvin never misses a Sunday in church, no one is quite sure why he's there. His countenance is angry. He walks the halls of the church, looking for something to complain about. You'd better agree with everything Marvin believes in -- and you'd better abide by his rules -- or you're in trouble…

 

Never would it cross Marvin's mind to pray…or worship. His words are harsh and critical. His eyes are sad. His heart is empty. It appears that all is meaningless to Marvin -- the sermons don't even make much sense to him anymore.

 

Marvin wears the dying leaves of past fruit. There are no new buds growing in his life. His fruit is dry and lifeless on the vine.
Perhaps Marvin is a fake. Or perhaps Marvin has forgotten what it means to be real.

 

Ellen isn't a fake. She's real and genuine.

 

When you're going through a trial, Ellen just seems to know. She sees you walk in the door on Sunday morning and her discerning spirit can immediately tell by your countenance when something is wrong. Or when you are hurting…she just has that gift, you know?

 

Whether you tell Ellen your problem or not, she will not leave your side. She stays with you…can't you see her? She is up early in the morning, praying for you. She sends you an encouragement card. She calls you when you're absent. She's there, and she cares.

 

Ellen is not a gossiper! She refuses to participate in the latest news. Some of the women in the church despise Ellen! You see, she is famous for bowing her head and praying out loud, right in the midst of a group of whispering women:


 

Dear Father, bless this sweet sister being talked about.
Oh, precious Lord, how you must love her! After all, You sent Your Son to die for her.
She is precious to You!

 

 

Then, with one eye open, she will pray:


 

And help me to remember, Father, that my words are a sweet sacrifice
to Your holy Name.
Amen.

 

 

And then she walks away.

 

Ellen is definitely a life-giver; she's no fake! She loves to pray. She loves to worship. She loves you.

 

Maybe you've seen Margaret at the church recently? She is such a joy -- a brand new Christian. She loves to hear about Jesus. She loves her new Bible. She loves to go to church. She can't wait to be around her new-found family of God.

 

But something just doesn't seem quite right to Margaret. Something is bothering her, but she can't quite grasp it. She sees Marvin's countenance and his prideful, unbending stature, and she wonders. Is this Christianity? But yet Margaret feels so much joy on the inside! Every part of her is bursting to learn...to know truth. Life-giving fruit is budding all over Margaret. She's just so grateful to Christ. She had been dry and thirsty for so long…

 

Marvin is dry and thirsty now. Poor Marvin.

 

Truth be known, Margaret is a little afraid of Marvin. After all, where is his peace? His loving heart? She watches as he scorns those he despises. Margaret thinks that perhaps she just doesn't know enough yet to know how to act as a Christian? Maybe someday she'll be a Marvin…? She hopes not. Margaret just doesn't quite understand.

 

Ellen understands, though. She grieves for Marvin in her heart. Ellen is faithfully praying for Marvin, even though she knows that Marvin despises her.

 

Hard, impersonal, lifeless. Why must there be any fakes?

 

Life with Jesus is joyful! Life-giving! New…not legalistic, or harsh, or critical. Jesus Himself grieves for Marvin, as He pushes aside the leaves of Marvin's heart and finds no fruit.

 

Poor Marvin. He is a fake. What about you…are you a fake? Is there hope for a fake?

 

Love always hopes.

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres…

I Corinthians 13

 

 

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
I John 4:8

 

 

 

 

 

 



Copyright © 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com



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