“These people, says God, honour me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me”. Matthew 15 v.8
Artificial Christmas trees date all the way back to the 1800s but it wasn’t until the 1960s they became popular in Britain. Think back to your childhood was the tree in your home a prickly artificial tree or a scented, sticky live one? Today the artificial ones are becoming more and more realistic. Unlike the shiny silver 60s trees todays artificial trees are designed to look just like the real thing. Many of us may have walked into someones home and been fooled into thinking it was the real thing but those of us who have had a live tree know the real test is if you are still picking up pine needles in February!!
The true test for believers in Christ is the condition of our hearts. When Jesus walked on this earth he had many faithful followers and many angry opponents, but that was not all. The Pharisees were what you might call “the artificial faithful”. They looked the part and played the part, if we had seen them in a crowd we would have been fooled into thinking they were the real thing, but they were putting on a show. Jesus was never fooled because their selfish hearts gave them away.
We do not all look alike, we are as different as the Christmas trees in our living rooms. We have different gifts, and different struggles and only God is fit to judge what’s real and not real. In the end what matters is the condition of our hearts and God really cares about what is in them.
We Pray –
Lord in this season give us time to reflect on our motivations and search our hearts to make sure our faith is the real thing. Show us any areas where we have been artificial in our dealings with You and others. Forgive us when we have played lip service and done things out of duty and not from the depths of our hearts. And like the lights on our Christmas trees may Your love shine from us so others may find You. Amen.
Margaret Lindley – Area Trustee for Liverpool, Chester & Stoke, North Wales and Manchester & Stockport