They Look Good, But They're Not Real!
Read: Romans 5:6-11
My husband and I enjoy watching the gardening programs on TV. We usually try to purchase at least one new plant for the flowerbeds, and this year has been no exception. In fact, we have bought more than one new flowering plant this year because several rosebushes didn't survive last year's hail. A few weeks ago, as we perused some of the flowers that were being offered, I found myself laughing at what was being presented by the vendor. Artificial plants that go from the box to the ground. Simply dig down a bit and stick them into the dirt. Voila! Perfect looking plants that need nothing and continue to look good throughout the season. No trimming, watering or shaping needed! However, there is no scent and no growth because they are not real. I know they surely would look nice in the yard, but risk and all, we prefer the living and ever-blossoming real live ones. Yes, they might need to be cut back due to unforeseen trauma such as wind or blight, but oh the sweetness of new chutes and flowers when they appear, and the fragrance of rain-washed petals as it wafts through the yard make it worth the work.
In the Bible, we discover that God too prefers real people. He could have made human beings who had no choice but to worship him, but how glad I am to have a Father Who made us with free will. He desired to have the love of real people not robots. Even though our first parents chose to do wrong, God continued to love them, and He wants us to know that He holds out His love to us too, John 3:16. This love is held out to those whose imperfections and sins often weigh heavily upon them. How can I be certain of that? He gave us the Bible which shows us the lives of many He redeemed whose flaws He did not hide.
There are many examples such as Abraham who lied not once but twice. See Genesis 12 and Genesis 20. There was Rebecca who helped Jacob deceive her husband in order to "help God accomplish what He had spoken about Jacob and Esau, Genesis 27:1-13." There was Peter who out of fear of man acted hypocritically, Galatians 2:11-14. There was Moses who misrepresented God before the people. Because of his actions, God did not permit him to accompany the people into the Promised Land, Numbers 20:10-14. These are only a few of the Bible's examples of the real people God chose to highlight. I am thankful that the Lord includes them so we can see the beauty of their lives as they were changed and were used for God's honor, flaws and all. God never pretended that the ones He came to rescue from sin were good or capable of saving themselves, Romans 5:6-11.
Instead, the Lord highlighted the truth, throughout the scriptures, that all of us fall short of His glory, Romans 3:23. Shouldn't truth like that keep us gentle towards each other? After all, we each came to Jesus with a debt we could never pay, Matthew 18:23-32; Luke 7:41-42. We are all cut out of the same cloth, and only the Lord can weave our fabric into something beautiful for His honor. He is the One Who fits us for the good work He has prepared for us, Ephesians 2:10. There is no room for anything except thankfulness to the One Who saves and then changes real people into His image from glory to glory, Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18.
No wonder Paul reminds us to never forget what we were like before Jesus found us. Don't you love that word "found"? Imagine it! He sought us when we were lost and had no resources, we could use to ever find Him. It wasn't because of anything we had ever done that He set His love upon any of us! He simply chose us and lavished His grace upon real people who were in real need of a Savior. He has been reaching out in love since He first did it for Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:7-9; Genesis 3:21. No wonder Galatians 6:1 reminds us to approach a brother who is entangled in a sin with gentleness. That's being real when we admit that we too can be tempted.
No wonder 1Peter 3:15 reminds us to share the reason for the hope we have with gentleness and respect. We too used to be without Jesus, Titus 3:3-6. It is with love and respect that we say what Jesus said about Himself. He is the only door through which real people must walk in order to become God's children, John 10:7-11; John 1:11-12. There is no other way that flawed and broken people like us can be saved 1 Timothy 2:5.
Lord, please open many hearts to Your love and their need of You, the only real Savior, John 14:6.