The other day I put my foot in my mouth in a pretty big way. It was the first day of church camp and I was sitting at the dinner table with a group of counselors and I noticed one lady had a very pretty ring on her finger. I made the comment, "That's a pretty ring" to which she replied, "Oh, it's fake. My real one is at home, but I didn't want anything to happen to it, so I got this one at Walmart before I left. See how it's turning my finger green?" Anyway, it was a funny moment as everyone at the table quickly found out what a horrible eye I had for jewelry. But what I thought after it happened was that the ring did exactly what it was made to do. That cheap immitation ring passed off as the real thing to the untrained eye.
I grew up in the age of Christian propoganda. I remember growing up and seeing shirts that read "Don't get caught dead without Jesus!" or spoofs of popular commercials like Reeborn instead of Reebok, or "Life is short, pray hard." And we had (still do have) Christian bumper stickers, music, movies, jewelry, stationery, books, and even breath mints. And for a long time I thought that these were the marks of a true Christian. I mean, what Christ-professing individual wouldn't want to advertise his or her faith in the most poignant, and fashionable way possible? But the older I have gotten I've not been as eager to literally wear my faith on my sleeve, despite the fact that it's a multi-million dollar industry. Because I know how I act sometimes and that I do things that wouldn't make my God proud--I mean, we all do. (Now, as a side note, I do have a closet full of free t-shirts that I've received from going to youth ministry events over the last 15 years). But would I wear a shirt that professed that I was a "bible-totin', scripture-quotin', devil-bashin'....(you get the idea)...believer, and proud of it?" Probably not. You see, it's not that I am not that way in the victory Christ has given me, but I am still very much aware of my humanity. I am a sinner saved by grace. And so while I may walk through life as a child of the King, I must remember that to the rest of the world, I am still that same sinner saved by grace. Honestly, I think it is narcissistic to think that people want to know how spiritual we are.
Galatians 5 says that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That's a pretty steep list. I hope that I can try to be more like God in my heart rather than just promoting him on the outside with all of my Christian paraphernalia. It's my hope and prayer that we all reflect God with our attitudes and actions even more than we reflect him with our t-shirts and bumper stickers.