By Susanne Scheppmann
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false. John 1:47 (NIV)
A small car sped along side my van. Hundreds of money-green dollar signs were painted against the car’s white exterior. I noticed the name of a local bank displayed prominently between the dollar insignias. Ah ha—what a clever way to advertise!
As we pulled to a stop at a red light, I spied very small black writing. The fine print read, “Warning: This car carries no money, only documents.” The thought struck me, “With all those dollars signs everywhere, I think that might be classified as false advertising.” The money promised from the outside, held no reality on the inside.
This made me pause and reflect on my own life. How often do I display “false advertising” to other people around me? Let me reveal three of my most common fraudulent appearances.
- I argue with my husband all the way to church. Then as my car door opens to our church friends, I paste a big toothy smile on my face. My grin implies, “My marriage is perfect.”
- I bump into an acquaintance at the grocery store. I ask, “How are you?” (I really don’t care and just want to get on with my day.) My pretense of a caring friend falls flat as I glance at my watch as she begins to tell me her woes.
- I recite Scripture, attend a Bible study and exhibit outward behaviors of a model Christian woman. However, on the inside I detect a few ungodly attitudes that mock me when I look in the mirror.
I know this is not how Christ wants me to function. He desires authenticity in every area of my life
Although I know I will never be perfect this side of heaven, I do want to rid myself of “false advertising”. I long for an inward attitude that matches my outward sponsorship of the Christian life. I want Jesus to be able to say of me, “There is Susanne, a true Christian in whom there is nothing false."
A favorite verse from The Message reminds me to sweep clean my life of falsity.
1 Peter 2:1-3, “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.”
Each phrase of this motivates me. I need to examine myself for symptoms of malice, pretense, envy and hurtful talk. I need to stay close to God and become a mature Christian in His eyes and an authentic Christian to others. I truly desire genuineness with who I am when I look in the mirror.
Let’s take this challenge together today. Let’s wipe false advertising from our behaviors. Then Jesus will exclaim, “Look at her! There is nothing false about her!”
Dear Lord, I want to please you in all that I say and do. Teach me to be authentic. Reveal to me where I might draw on “false advertising” when I am around other people. Help me to be like your friend, Nathanael. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Write the John 1:47 on an index card. Write your first name in the place of “Nathanael” and position the card on your mirror. You will have a daily reminder to rid yourself of any “false advertising” that you might be tempted to display to others. Ask God each morning for authenticity in your daily encounters with others.
© 2005 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.