The Real Thing

You may want to put on your boots. Tonight not only features a shot of scattered clouds, but a chance of crushed phalanges as well. Not to imply I take any delight in stepping on them; I’m simply imparting a fair warning based on the content below.

So much jibber and jabber in America these days over the cross-generational increase in ignorance, indifference, and all that is killing innocence, passion and the pursuit of righteousness. Answers are in abundance, often in the form of an Average Joe’s two cents; others seemingly turn into dissertations without a trace of disciplined speech.

But hear me clearly, people. I’m not vouching for a concentrated series on my takes. Instead, deem my challenges as sporadic, with a light n’ easy, maybe “sunny-side-up” standpoint with respect to upcoming holiday bliss. Also, keep in my mind that when I preach to the choir, I consider myself to be a part of it. Freedom of bias is the succulent cherry atop the parfait of verbal art.

Chances are you crave something real in life, something authentic and true. And while most people don’t have a problem in identifying needs, the crux comes down to prioritizing and its fusion into holy living. God desires our aim to match our execution. So if authenticity is an aim, then abiding within judicious parameters becomes essential. To discover the real in life goes far beyond a mental knowledge of what we designate as desirable. We first have to recognize what pleases the Lord, so that our pursuits can become pure acts of reference and reverence.

As this pattern unfolds, the issue of intimacy inevitably uncovers us. The greater the distance wedged between us and God, the harder it is to grasp his perspective on what is gratifying to him. Many Christians can confess their dependence on God, yet a fear of intimacy ultimately compromises submission. If we allow apprehension relative to self-exposure to bind us, we’re basically sliding our requests over to God, rather than surrendering directly in his hands. To trust an almighty God with self-created legroom is actually a cowardly move, and makes no sense outside of our stubborn longing for false security. However, the more we release our own agendas and press into his will, the wider God’s capacity is to help us grade and weave our precedence into his. To have needs fits our divine making, but to be consumed by them breeches God’s design. To thirst for real attracts God’s attention, but we must not grief him by unauthorized, self-centered quests and wild goose chases.

Part of the big-picture problem, especially with young people, concerns the perceived pathway to the real. Secularism, commercialism, and relativism are among the worldly dogmas that condition youth to believe the route to real is relative to the importance of satisfied need. For Christian youth, persistent peer pressure mixes in a desire to"fit in" with serving God, which unfortunately produces the probable outcome of partial passion and lack of fire. Although relating well to others is a good thing, if this concern is placed higher on the priority ladder, with its rungs representing an order of significance, then pure intentions can be jeopardized.

As a youth minister, I must submit that the church must strengthen its battle plan, with young people in mind, against a culture laden with preying deception. We must educate with our actions how to earnestly seek the Lord in ALL things, so rising generations may know that everything real comes from the Father. Let us pursue the corporate calling of teaching young people that, "As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person", as Proverbs 27:19 states. Let us remind today's youth that, "the real children of Abraham...are those who put their faith in God", as it says in Galatians 3:7. To really live is to be consumed by God, for as Colossians 3:3 says, "For [we have] died to this life, and [our] real life is hidden with Christ in God."

Of course, the question then turns into, "How do we strengthen this battle plan?"

Part 2 Preview: I believe worship has to become the center of every thing we do. Today's youth need to see the church express "worship" outside the sanctuary.


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