Prada, Probably Not!

During the middle of December Bevie Jo and I took a week of vacation in a southern climate … it was wonderful!We went into town one day because from the airport Bevie Jo had noticed many little tent shops set up in the center of town and the taxi driver told her there were “great bargains” to be had. Since it was vacation I caved on at least one day of “shopping” and since it was going to be “bargain basement” deals how could I refuse As we arrived chaos was everywhere, there were tiny tent like shops everywhere; and the big news was that they carried “fake” major name look-alike products By the way, I’m writing this with Bevie Jo’s knowledge and approval. And then it happened, there was the “Prada” purse table … bargain fake Prada purses at less than $45 dollars … purses with that name normally cost around $1,000. Well, you are probably ahead of me … we returned to our room that night with an imitation Prada purse for a bargain basement price of $35 (Bevie Jo talked the store owner down to this). It actually looks pretty good (like I’m some expert on how purses look!) This all got me thinking in spiritual terms … well, that’s what I do. I wondered how many times this happens in the spiritual realm. Instead of representing the expensive grace that God paid for our redemption we live out a cheap imitation of what real Christianity should be.

Is it possible to be a cheap imitation today of what God really wants the church and Christianity to be? I think it is. We can wear the label but not really be the authentic article; we can actually be a cheap imitation. It can be cheap to look the part, and perhaps even fool a lot of people for quite a while. I wonder how the early Christians survived heavy persecution; horrible economic times when Christianity wasn’t even a permitted lifestyle. How did they love, how did they persevere, how did they grow spiritually and look at faith and their relationship to God?

Today we run into a few inconveniences and we wonder where God is, and why He doesn’t love us anymore. I admit that there have been times I have been shallow, weak, and I am embarrassed myself thinking of what I have at times based my own relationship to God on. It seems to me that we should be the strongest of people in the most difficult of times. We should be able to see opportunity in opposition. We quote the passage about the gates of hell not prevailing against the church of Jesus Christ, but live sometimes as though the church can’t make it in this economic environment. Churches can lose their focus and turn inward instead of remembering that their focus is suppose to be outward. An inward focused church is doomed to implode. For the early Christians faith was about their relationship with God, not about getting stuff. Faith was related to inward growth, character development, not outward growth or the accumulation of things.

Cheap imitation knock offs are great for products, but not for faith commitments. I think this world is hungry for real Christians; authentic faith; real relationships that have real depth to them. We need people who are really like Christ, accept real accountability, not just a spirituality that is sentimental and shallow. We need a faith that is based more on following God than how we feel about God or others. The real name should not be made cheap like an imitation. It wasn’t to outside unbelievers that God said in His 10 commandments, “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This commandment was directed to HIS people, meaning that those who NAME Him should not live a mocking life or empty life because it takes HIS name in vain when we do so! It was NOT a commandment about cursing God through swearing, it was a commandment warning God’s people to not carry His name in a vain, shallow, or empty way!

Are we the real article, or a cheap imitation?The price tag is high for the real thing, but what a thing of beauty and value!