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Real Puppies and Fake Christians

Is that a real dog, or is it a stuffed animal? Pictures of our new puppy leave most people wondering if we’re just conducting photo ops with a plush toy.

You can hardly blame them.  Kodi’s appearance draws gasps of admiration everywhere she goes… from friends to complete strangers — even shouts from passing car windows.  If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard the words “so cute” in the past month, we’d be jetting off to a tropical paradise right now.

But trust me, behind this overload of fluffy cuteness is the mischievous wickedness of any other puppy.  She’s earned the household nickname, “Viper,” for good reason.  Her serpentine teeth quickly snag (or as we say, “vipe”) anything within reach of her impish snout, littering the house with an endless trail of shreds.

Simply put, Kodi has not conceded to the “obey-your-master” thing yet. She regards direct orders more as lax suggestions, if she even listens at all. And when we catch her defiantly pulling Tupperware out of the dishwasher, she quickly assumes a posture that suggests complete innocence. Needless to say, that face gets away with murder in this house!

Interestingly, if you’ve been around Christians for any length of time, you know their story can be much like our new puppy. The innocent postures you see on Sunday morning may look very different outside the church walls. The whole “obedience-to-God” thing hasn’t fully sunk in.  

That may sound like a huge discredit to all believers, but let’s not forget the very basis of Christianity is an admission of our own imperfection. Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee we’ll always represent Jesus well. Following Jesus will most certainly include many shortcomings and failures. God, in His love and grace, lets us get away with a lot.

But being a Christian should also drive us to do our best to honor our Master and take His Word seriously — not just when someone is watching, or when it fits our lifestyle choices. 

Take just a few directives in Scripture:
– Imitate God in everything we do. (Eph 5:1)
Always value others above ourselves. (Phil 2:3)
– Let everything we say be good, helpful, and encouraging. (Eph 4:29)
These are seriously tall orders, right?! They’re not merely suggestions. And we can’t just modify the meaning of Scripture to match our preferences, routines, or the latest trends.

If we call ourselves Christians but fail to accept and follow the Bible as it is written, it’s kind of like taking pictures of our puppy.  It makes people wonder, are they real or fake?   

1 Peter 1:15-16 – “Be holy now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be his child. He himself has said, “You must be holy, for I am holy.””

– Ron Reid

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