The Real Thing
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"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." - John 15:1
What is real? What is 'the real thing?' Cola-Cola markets itself as "the real thing". But is real anything money can buy? What is real to you?
When I was 17, I attended a New Age workshop. I was looking for the real thing — that is, I was looking for an authentic faith experience. I was looking for God. I had grown up in environments that were pretty religious. But my heart wanted more. I was looking for authenticity — a tangible faith — something I could experience for myself.
During this workshop, we did all sorts of meditation, Reiki, and visualization techniques. We tapped into the spiritual and soul realm through doing these activities with other people. There were people of all faiths there — as far as religion was concerned, anything went. It was definitely real. I could feel the energy in the room, the spiritual dynamic. But, several weekends into the class I found myself becoming more and more depressed. A spirit of heaviness came more and more over my life. At one point I ran out of the room in tears because I realized that I was allowing something dark into my life. I knew Jesus at the time, but I had a hard time connecting to Him. I knew that this wasn't Him. It became dark, as quickly as I thought it had been light. I realized it was counterfeit light, and I needed to get away as quickly as possible for the health of my soul.
Several months later I attended another Christian church for the first time on my own. God met me with a powerful worship experience and even put a rainbow on the word screen as confirmation of my attendance there. (My personal testimony involves rainbows.) I knew right then that this was where I was supposed to be. Even though my heart had been calloused from past experiences, I was ready to be made new again. My heart was open to connecting with God. And from that day forward, I sought the true God who became the real thing to me.
Would you call your experience with God "the real thing"? If not, why not ask Him, fully and truly, if He would make Himself more real to you. He promises always to be there when we seek Him. (Matthew 7:7) He is the Real Thing.
Related resource: Get Real: Sharing Your Everyday Faith Every Day by John S. Leonard