This morning I went to Target and picked out four shirts and one pair of jeans to try on…and left with none of them.  What is the deal with fashion these days?  All these skinny jeans make me crazy.  I mean, if you’re skinny, hey…rock on with the skinny jeans, but for me skinny jeans seems like quite a bit of an oxymoron considering that there is nothing skinny about me in the least.  At this point in my life, I cannot fathom any reason why I would pay good money for an item of clothing that feels as though it will cut the circulation off to the lower half of my body.  My legs were getting claustrophobic just in the few seconds it took me to decide that these things would not be going back into my shopping cart.  And the material they make shirts out of?  It’s so thin you need something under the shirt to get by with it in public and even that’s not enough to make me feel comfortably covered.  No thank you, tissue paper shirt.  I’ll stick with my reasonable thickness shirts.

Speaking of facsimiles of things masquerading as real things, I was talking with a friend earlier about all the products we use now and how the public is sold items that are supposed to be something, but in fact are just manufactured fakes of the real thing.  You buy something that’s “banana flavored,” but there’s no mention whatsoever of banana in the ingredients.  How is that?  We have to make something to improve the taste of a banana because real bananas aren’t banana-y enough?  We wash our hair with substances we cannot even begin to pronounce and if you do a check on those unpronounceable things, you’ll find that many of them cause cancer, reproductive problems, irritation, allergic reactions, and all kinds of other not-good stuff.  We buy vegetables that have been coated with something that makes them shiny and pretty and I guess supposedly more edible-appearing, but what exactly are we eating?  And this all goes back to the principle of supply and demand.  The demand for easy and quick and convenient and cheap gives rise to microwave-ready chicken shaped into nuggets and clothing made by a 12-year-old in a sweat shop somewhere in Bangladesh.

And trying to get out of this mess of chemicals and additives and mass-produced craziness feels like a mountain of which you’ll never reach the peak, much less get over the other side.

And it’s all because we, the people, allowed consumerism to win and made convenience more important than common sense.  And look, I’m talking to myself as much as anybody.  I’ve got all kinds of fake foods sitting in my pantry right now.  And the idea of digging my way out of this hole of artificial flavors and colors is more than overwhelming, but the more I learn, the harder it is to keep on doing things the way I’ve been doing them.  When faced the undeniable truth, it’s hard to keep letting myself believe in the lie.

You know, the gospel is a lot like that, too.

We let ourselves believe in the lies the world lays out there.  The lie of self-sufficiency.  The lie that we have to have a lot of stuff to be happy and fulfilled.  The lie that we aren’t obligated to look out for anyone but ourselves.  And worst of all, the lie that Jesus just isn’t enough.

But when we are faced with truth…that God is good, that He loves us deeply, that He will supply our needs, that the work of Jesus on the cross really was, is and will always be enough, that the Holy Spirit can change us, that there is something bigger and greater happening here than we could begin to understand or imagine…if we could just let that truth sink down deep into our being then we would begin to see that the counterfeit messiahs the enemy offers are nothing at all to compare to the real thing.

But hey, I totally get it.  Sometimes fake seems better at the time because it’s easy and it doesn’t require as much from us.  It doesn’t cost us as much.  Real chicken nuggets take time…you have to clean the chicken, cut it up, bread it, cook it, and then clean up all the mess.  Pop the frozen imitations into the microwave and in about a minute and a half, you’ve got lunch.  We’ve saved time and took the easy route, but at what cost?  Quick, but questionable.

The enemy does the same thing.  He offers us false hope in worldly things promising fulfillment in money and power and stuff and those things speak so loudly to our flesh, don’t they?  It’s so easy to get caught up in our own idols.  We’re all looking to fill that void, but we sometimes find ourselves settling for cheap imitations that will always come up short.

There’s something on the inside of us that calls out for something greater…to Someone greater…and we’re fooling ourselves if we think that we can satisfy that craving with anything but Jesus.

He is the Alpha and the Omega.  The Beginning and the End.  He is light and in Him there is no darkness. He is Messiah.  He is Salvation.  He is the one that pulls you out of the pit of worldliness and calls you righteous.  He’s no pop tart.  He’s the five course meal with all the trimmings.  There is no substitute.  He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life.  He’s the real deal, y’all.

It’s been said that the best way to tell a counterfeit is to know the real thing.  And the more deeply we know Jesus and get a grasp on who He is, the less bright and shiny the promises of the enemy become…and we’ll start to spot those lies a mile away.

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