Articles of high quality are valued by wise shoppers. People educated in the acquiring of quality goods spend a lot of time scrutinizing items before they purchase them to ensure that what they are buying is the genuine article, not some cleverly devised fake. Due to the amount of money people are willing to spend for a quality item, the production of “fakes” has become big business. People involved in this illegal activity spend a lot of time studying high quality items so they can recreate them using inferior, less expensive materials, passing them off to buyers as the “real deal”. The desire is to be good enough at producing “fakes” so that buyers will pay top dollar for items that are not what they appear to be.
How do you know if something is genuine? Anyone can put a “label” on something and call it the “real deal”. To find out if something is genuine, it must be inspected closely. Think about precious metals: they are revealed as genuine by putting them through fire. Gold reacts a certain way when exposed to heat. Metals being passed off as gold will be proved to be a fake when exposed to extreme heat. Every manufacturer of high quality goods puts some type of trademark embedded in the item they have created, so that when inspected, it will be revealed as the genuine article. Producers of fake items usually don’t have the knowledge or equipment to produce these trademarks, therefore making it difficult to pass them off as real. Close inspection reveals the trademark and declares the item genuine.
Guess what reveals a believer in Jesus as the “genuine article” or the “real deal”?
You guessed it: Close inspection and testing. Studying the Bible in an effort to copy the real article; going to church in an effort to pass yourself off as the real thing or wearing the “label” Christian can fool some people. But, before you know it, the testing time comes and then, “copies” of the real thing are revealed as “fakes”.
1 Peter 1:6 in the Amplified Version says:
“You should be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, so that the genuineness of your faith may be tested, your faith which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. This proving of your faith is intended to redound to your praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Anointed One is revealed.”
You should be glad when trials come: they are the very process through which you are revealed to be real in your faith. Anyone can make it through easy times. But closer inspection always reveals the presence of the trademark woven into the life of the disciple of Christ. I know, none of us like pain, but pain is the fire that refines what is real and gets rid of what is useless.
Now, don’t be fooled: it’s not only hard times that reveal you as genuine. Good times reveal you as genuine as well. They carry their own type of “fire”; not the fire of pain but the fire of satisfaction. You see, lack tests your commitment and abundance tests your character. When you are in lack of some sort, the test is: will I continue to believe in God’s Word that He will supply my need and that He is good and will cause this to work for good?
When you are in abundance, the test is: will I serve God or my stuff? Will I compromise to keep what I have? Will I hold on to my stuff lightly or tightly? Will I look down on those who don’t have what I have? Will I change the Word of God to fit my desires? Will I believe all the praise others are heaping on me due to my success?
Believe it or not, the test of success is harder than the test of commitment!
I’m reminded of the word of Jesus in John 14:30:
“For I will not talk with you much more, the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. (He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.)”
That’s the definition of true success! Yet, we will still be tested, just as He was:
“But (Satan is coming and) I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know (be convinced) that I love the Father and that I do only what the Father has instructed Me to do. (I act in full agreement with His orders.)”
You are constantly being tested, not matter the circumstances. Your testing is revealing something about you. So, no matter where you are; in good times or bad, “keep it real”. Your success is defined by saying, like Jesus said, “the enemy has nothing in common with me; there is nothing in me that belongs to him – he has no power over me!
You will pass the test! I’m praying for you!!!!