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“Get Real”

By Kyle Pope

Sometime ago I found a little accessory for my computer on E-Bay and sent an e-mail to the seller asking him if he would take $18.00 for it. Apparently he thought that this offer was far too low and responded rather bluntly - “$18.00?—Get real!” This was not the first time that I had heard this expression. He used it to say, “$18.00 is not a realistic offer for this item.” For years now kids have used variations of this as a type of salutation. Two kids leaving each other might say - “keep it real!” If I understand correctly how this is used, it is a way of saying, “be yourself,” or “don’ t let anyone make you what you’re not.” It can even mean simply, “see you later-- hope things goes well with you.” While these slang expressions, like many others of the past will (most likely) be short-lived and soon forgotten, I thought about the significance of such words if considered from a Christian perspective. Consider a few applications:

We Should “Get Real” in Our Treatment of Others. Far too often Christians allow themselves to be very inconsistent in their treatment of other people. A brother or sister may be kind and loving to others, but rude and cruel to their family. A child of God may talk about God’s love in the church building then yell at a driver on the road or give a server in a restaurant a “tonguelashing.” Or, perhaps we show partiality to those who are wealthy and attractive but disregard those who are not. In doing so we may convince ourselves that we are good, faithful Christians all the while ignoring the reality of our condition before God. The Apostle John taught, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (I John 4:7, NKJV). In defining love, Paul begins, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (I Corinthians 13:4, 5). We must honestly evaluate our treatment of others if we are to see how we really stand before God.

We Should “Get Real” in Our Understanding of Sin. The soul outside of Christ does not take a realistic view of their sin. It may seem to them as something fun and pleasurable. Taking an interest in spiritual things seems boring and unnecessary. The reality of the situation is that sin against God is a vicious cancer that eats away at our souls, it separates us from God and promises only condemnation. The alien sinner is not the only one who may fail to realistically understand their sin. The Christian may excuse certain behavior saying “that’s just the way I am!” They may imagine that their good works eliminate the need for the saving blood of Christ. These attitudes reflect a view of sin that is unrealistic and spiritually deadly. Paul told the Romans bluntly, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). John declared plainly, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil…” (I John 3:7, 8). That’s reality.

We Should Keep It Real When It Comes to Our Behavior. The slang expression used by kids reflects an understanding of the fact that many of us, whether as adults or children, are hypocritical in our behavior. We want to be Christians on Sunday and Wednesday but worldly the rest of the time. We may become timid around classmates or coworkers and ashamed to let people know our faith. We allow life circumstances to determine whether we will be faithful in our church attendance or we may lie to maintain appearances, get ahead or take advantage of someone. When we do these things we try to fool ourselves into thinking if no one else sees our duplicity it’s no big deal. The reality of the situation is that our duplicity nullifies our faith. The “part-time” Christian is a “fulltime” sinner! James teaches us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). The reality is, that living the doubleminded life of the hypocrite, we can’t please God.

We Should “Keep It Real” When it Comes to Our View of this World. Nothing about this world should lead us to think that it is permanent. All plants, animals and people wither, decay and die. Even rocks, mountains and streams crumble, erode and evaporate. Yet, many of us want to live our lives as if this world will last forever. We may not be able to see the spiritual side of our makeup, but the reality of the matter is that our soul is the only thing about us that is “real” in the sense that it is enduring. Yes, this world exists and our bodies exist but only for a time. One day they will both be burned up and dissolved into nothing! John said through the Holy Spirit, “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:17). What plans are we making for the home of our soul? What provision are we making for what is truly real and enduring?   

Pope, Kyle. "Get Real" Biblical Insights 5.5 (May 2005): 23  

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