Word of the Week: Genuine

Chuck Swindoll, in his book Growing Deep in the Christian Life, tells a story that occurred in Long Beach, California, several years ago at a fast-food fried chicken joint.

Late one afternoon a man and his date stopped for two chicken dinners to take on a picnic. However, after driving to a secluded spot to eat they opened the sack and discovered over $800 in cash. The lady at the counter inadvertently gave him the sack with the proceeds from that day’s sales.

Quickly he put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car, drove all the way back, and returned the money to the manager who by then was frantic.

Of course, the manager was thrilled. He said to the hero, “Oh, great, let me call the newspaper. I’m gonna have your picture put in the local newspaper. You’re the most honest man I’ve heard of.”

“Oh no, no, don’t do that,” the man quickly responded. Then he leaned closer and whispered, “You see, the woman I’m with is not my wife…she’s uh, somebody else’s wife.”

Our word of the week is genuine.

To be genuine is to possess the qualities, characteristics, and character that we claim. To be real. To be free from pretense, hypocrisy, or deceit. While genuineness involves honesty, it is more. As illustrated by the story, one can be honest in money matters, but deceitful in another area.

The Pharisees, often condemned by Jesus, were scrupulously meticulous in some areas of their religion, but they weren’t genuine. Jesus called them hypocrites. They were pretenders. Play actors. And religious phonies. Their hearts were not right before God.

In Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Series,” he entitled I John “Be Real.” In it, he speaks of genuine faith, genuine love, and genuine obedience. The true believer does more than talk the talk. He walks the walk. He knows who Jesus is. Walks in the light. Embraces divine fellowship. And stands firmly grounded in the truth.

George Whitefield, the great British evangelist, was speaking to a man about his soul. He asked the man, “Sir, what do you believe?”

“I believe what my church believes,” the man replied respectfully.

“And what does your church believe?”

“The same thing I believe. ”

“And what do both of you believe?” the preacher inquired again.

“We both believe the same thing!” was the only reply he could get.

Obviously, the man didn’t know. His faith wasn’t real. He was just a church attender. Not a genuine disciple.

It’s easy to deceive ourselves about our the depth of our convictions and our true motives. The prophet Jeremiah warned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).

The answer, of course, is to allow the Lord to search our hearts as we examine them through His Word. Like a mirror, the Word exposes who we really are. If we look honestly and clearly, we can see ourselves as God sees us.

Paul’s prayed for the Philippian brethren that they would “abound in knowledge and discernment.” But he also prayed that they “would be sincere and without offense.” It means to be genuine. To be able to withstand exposure to testing.

Dr. Phil McGraw on his popular TV show “Dr Phil,” often tells people he’s counseling who are in denial about their problems, “Get real.” God calls His people to “get real” and to “be real” about their lives. Their worship. Their ministry. Their fellowship. And their discipleship

I have a friend who used to say, “Be yourself. But be your best self.” Or in the words of the 19th-century English theologian Julius C. Hare, “Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

3 responses to “Word of the Week: Genuine

  1. I love this story Ken. Thank you for posting it. Being genuine…is trusting in what God has done and is doing in our lives to advance the Gospel.

    The man returning the money is such a poignant example of Genuine Christianity. To go and sin no more…people must be Salt and Light. They must walk the talk.

    And of course the Man returning the sac of money was going to have to look at himself in the mirror and face the truth–or cover up he mirror with a shawl and silence [the story] and ask others who knew his story to do the same.

    How can Christians be Salt and Light if their Leaders are not Genuine…not walking the talk?

    Easter is about…the agony of being Genuine. It’s not about covering up what one has done, asking the local restaurant manager and your Lunch Date not to tell anybody what happened.

    When Jesus met with Nicodemus, Israel’s Teacher, this is what Jesus said: “Whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God” (John 3:21).

  2. Stephen Segrest

    Since today is “National Dog Day”, I’ll throw in my 2 cents: “Be the person your dog thinks you are”.

    • Interesting 2 cents Stephen! It brings to mind the story of the Canaanite Woman of Matthew 15:21-28. In this account, the Woman thinks the Good Teacher who is travelling around is the Son of David.

      Solomon was the legitimate heir, the Son of David. He had a 1000 wives and or concubines. The Woman in the Song of Solomon exemplifies faith and this becomes apparent at the end of the Song of Songs 8:10-14

      She rises and says…I have become in his eyes like one who brings peace. Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-hamon. He leased it to the tenants. For its fruit, each was to bring a thousand shekels of silver. But my own vineyard is mine to give; the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

      Solomon, the Son of David is not her Bridegroom. Her Bridegroom is the one who is a true yokefellow, someone who is a true companion who will pull his share of the load beside her. And her companions are listening for her Bridegroom’s voice. Her companions will not settle for a counterfeit.

      Song of Solomon 8 :13 says:
      You who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice. Let me hear it!

      Her Companions and her brothers know she is a Dorcas, a Gazelle who deserves a STAG. They don’t want her to be treated like a dog, content with a few table scraps.

      Thanks Stephen!

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