“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
I have a confession. I’ve been watering a fake plant for three weeks now. Faithfully watering it. In my defense, it’s extremely realistic looking. It never crossed my mind I had a fake…until I was at the store and almost bought a second. That’s when I realized—it was plastic.
As a rule, I’m against faux foliage. Be real or don’t exist. To know I watered and admired a phony was humbling. I had set it on the window sill with nine other plants—and had thought it was the prettiest one there.
When my daughter pulled our plantation blinds out of the window on top of my tiny garden—decimating a Lima Bean plant, damaging a cactus, and generally wreaking havoc on leaves and stems—I marveled that this single, beautiful plant escaped unscathed.
Now I know why. It wasn’t real.
There had to be a lesson there, right? God loves me too much to let me buy fake plants for nothing.
As I was thinking about the other plants (the ones that sustained damage from being attacked, the ones that grew as I watered them, the not-so-pretty real ones) I realized it was kind of like faith.
Some people look great on the outside. They say the right things. Acceptable Christian responses? Check. But if you look inside their pot, you find a plant glued to Styrofoam. You can water, but it won’t grow. Attacks come, but it won’t be damaged. It wasn’t real, to begin with.
Real faith isn’t picture-perfect. Leaves turn brown if roots aren’t watered. Stems break under the weight of attacks. Branches are pruned to become more fruitful.
Thankfully God is a better gardener than me. He knows real from plastic. He sees the messy process of sanctification as infinitely more beautiful than an artificial presentation.
Read 2 Corinthians 13:5 (read online here) and examine your own heart.