An antique dealer thought that the wrinkled old baseball card that she found might be worth $10.00. After posting it on eBay, she began to wonder if it might be more valuable than she had thought. She removed the posting and consulted a professional evaluator who confirmed that the photo on the 1869 card showed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in the United States. The card sold for more than $75,000. Even though the card was creased and discolored, the most important thing was its authenticity – it was real!
The apostle Paul and his companions suffered greatly while spreading the gospel of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 6 he listed their outward trials, their inward traits, and their spiritual resources: “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (2 Corinthians 6:4-7).
Please try to imagine the circumstances in which all these things interacted: The beatings, the patience, the prison time, the kindness, the distresses, and of course the great love. Although broken physically, depleted emotionally, and tested spiritually, the authenticity of their faith in Christ clearly showed through! He goes on to write, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
In our walk with Christ, there’s no substitute for spiritual authenticity – being real! It is not lip service that God wants, what He wants is our authentic love and devotion for Him which shows itself in our day to day living as we let others “see” Jesus in us through the lives we live — again, just being REAL Christians!