You Know When It's Real

by David Burchett

The Wendy's restaurant chain has been running an ad campaign that shows the difference between real and fake. Using a clever series of visuals the commercial illustrates that sometimes things that appear real are anything but real. A man precariously climbing a tall building slips and only then do you  realize that he is actually on the ground. A green screen background created the illusion that he was in danger. Another shot shows two men with a full head of hair. One brushes his real hair while the other embarrassingly watches a gust of wind blow his fake "do" off his head. The catchy tune is designed to demonstrate that things aren't always as they appear and, ultimately, you know when it is real. Wendy's tries to make the point that they use real and fresh ingredients in their menu.

I pondered if the same catchy slogan can be applied to those who wear the title of Christian. Can you know when faith is real in the life of a Christian? What does it look like to be real? And do you really know for sure? I have been following Christ for about forty years and that number of years is sadly appropriate. There has been a fair amount of wandering around in the desert during that time. I seem to have cornered the unfortunate franchise on observing "bad Christians" after my first book (When Bad Christians Happen to Good People) was published. I feel I have a pretty good handle on what it looks like when faith is not real. But I have been blessed to walk with some men and women who lived out the truths of the Gospel authentically and powerfully. I wish the number was higher. But here is the good news. Each one has had a powerful impact far beyond what you could reasonably expect based on their fame and fortune. And they were usually not the ones you would pick out of a lineup to be used in amazing ways by God.

For the past few days I have been remembering the men and women who influenced my life in a positive way for Christ. Why did they have such an impact in my life? Why did I trust that faith was "real" in their lives. There seemed to be a few common denominators in all of the those followers of Jesus…

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