Are You the Real Deal?

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

2 Tim 2:19-21 “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” …. If a man cleanses .. he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy,useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Like you, my life is filled with many vivid memories that I’ll never forget. I was 24 years old and a Flight Attendant at Northwest Airlines. I was on a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco when I met this married, very sweet, bubbly, very kind and joyful Flight Attendant. She was interesting to talk to and had one of the most fun personalities of any person I had ever flown with. I was attracted to her – not in the romantic sense, but to her as a very unique and special person. I found myself wanting to engage in conversation with her.

We both had scheduled layovers in San Francisco that night. In a transportation van taking us to the hotel, she had encouraged me to watch this special television show that was going to be on. It was a Billy Graham special. I had heard the name but didn’t know who he was or what the show would be about.

When I had got to my hotel room, I forgot what it was that she had told me to watch so I called her room to ask her again. When I had her on the phone I found myself asking her a question. “Sharon, you are one of the most joyful people I have ever met. What makes you so happy?” Before she answered, she asked me a question. She said, “Tim, do you believe in God?” I told her I did. She asked me what I believed. I proceeded to give her the biggest bunch of mumbo jumbo baloney that you’ve ever heard in your life. I shared all my religious philosophy with her. I’m surprised she didn’t hang up or throw up. Instead she patiently listened to what I said.

I then asked her what she believed. She asked me to go to the night stand next to my bed where inside the drawer, I’d find a Gideon Bible. As I pulled it out, she said she’d do the same. She pulled out the one in her night stand and then told me what pages to turn to. It was a good thing she could direct me by page numbers rather than scripture and verse because I wouldn’t have had a clue what she was taking about. I’d never cracked a Bible in my life. She told me how to find chapters and verses and proceeded to help me turn from verse to verse. She expounded on verses about God’s love, about sin and how God would forgive me of it, and how I could receive Jesus into my life. When she was done I knew something very important. Somehow inside I knew I was full of baloney and had been deceiving myself. Somehow I knew that I didn’t really know anything about God but that she did. I knew that she knew the truth and very much belonged to God.

She asked me if I would like to become “saved” and give my life to Christ. I didn’t know what that meant but again she patiently explained. Together over our hotel room telephones, we prayed. She led me in prayer and I asked Jesus into my heart. From that moment, something within me had changed. The first thing that I could identify was having this loathing for the self deception I’d kept myself in. I had lied to myself for too long and it was time to build a life on truth – the truth of God’s Word.

Why am I telling you all this? Because all too often I run into people who remind me of the way I used to be – holding onto a lie and a life that they know isn’t pleasing to God. They may try to con me about how much they love God in the same way I tried to convince Sharon how religious I was. But, as today’s Fresh Manna verses say, “The Lord knows those who are His.” The verses say, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” If a man cleanses ..he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

I am talking about this today for my good. I have to ask myself continuously, ” Is what I’m doing, or saying, or participating in pleasing to God?” Am I letting any more self-deception creep into my life? Am I being careful about what I do around other people so that I look godly but inside have something less pure going on? I can’t con God. I better examine myself and if I see something in my life that I know is outside the will of God, I must repent, pray for God’s grace and help, and get it right. When my life becomes a process of purging myself of wickedness and conforming to His image, then, as today’s verses say, I will be “an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

It was one thing to live in self deception 31 years ago when I didn’t know the Lord. It’s another thing to fake it before others and act as though God doesn’t know what’s going on. I won’t do it. I have to get it right. I want His best so that He can use me for noble purposes each and every day.

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
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