Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 22, 2010

the genuine item

If you are a collector, know someone who is a collector, or know of the world of collecting, you will be familiar with the term “authenticity”.  Collectors insist on it, since an item’s intrinsic and monetary value rests heavily on it.  The collecting world is full of priceless originals, but also of clever, detailed, nearly indistinguishable fakes.  It can be so easy with some items to be fooled as a casual observer or collector.  Which is why a true collector wants documentation, and searches for stamps or special markings, all in the effort to confirm an item’s authenticity.

Proof is the only way the collector can truly know whether they have the genuine item.  Words in the form anecdotal evidence or stories will not suffice in determining authenticity.  They require another source to corroborate the story.  Words, in and of themselves, rarely speak definitively.

The same can certainly be said of us, if we look at ourselves as the collected item.  We can profess to be the genuine item, but if there is no other corroborating evidence, then our words are meaningless.

The Bible is not vague in its definition of authenticity, and it is the definitive documentation source.

I John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:

John 13:34
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Matthew 7:16a
By their fruit you will recognize them.

All three references leave no doubt as to the stamp and special markings that prove whether we are authentic.  And as an extra point of emphasis, I would also encourage you to read the verses that bookend Matthew 7:16.  In them, Christ provides a strong warning about the clever, detailed, nearly indistinguishable fakes.

All analogies fall apart at some point, and I stopped short of describing God as a collector of souls.  But if I had, would you pass the authenticity test?  Would you hold up under close examination?   Would  the Love God, Love Others “special markings” be obvious to both the casual observer and the trained eye?  Is His love so evident in who you are in the secret, anonymous places and opportunities, that you can easily be distinguished as the genuine item?  Can the story that your life tells be corroborated in the lives of others?

I find great personal challenge and conviction in those questions, and in my intentional pursuit of being authentic.  Let them simmer for a bit, stir them around and let them settle again, don’t be too quick to give an answer.  Our value to God is incalculable, known only to Him, and not determined by what we do.  Our value to His kingdom rests heavily on our authenticity.

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