Something in it was not quite right, and it caught my eye immediately.
Literally 'bigger than life'... it was really only a counterfeit- a wanna-be-blossom balloon!
I also discovered recently that I am in the possession of a five-dollar bill that is counterfeit.
I did not know it was counterfeit.. nor do I know where I got it, but a sharp-eyed clerk caught it when I handed it over to pay for something.
I could not identify why it was not legal tender.... until I laid it along side a 'real' five dollar bill. Then the tell-tale marks were clearly identifiable.
The two very obvious differences are that it is 1/4" shorter and is missing the gold vertical bar on the right side. Then there are several more subtle differences.
Counterfeit -- I looked up the meaning ....and several descriptive words caught my attention --- "false, spurious, deceitful, hypocritical" - not a flattering or desirable label to have attached to anything - especially not to SOMEONE !
The balloon in among the blossoms... even though it was almost the same colour.... was easily identified as 'counterfeit' because of the fact that it was puffed up!
Isn't it easy to spot that characteristic in people?
There is something immediately offensive about someone who is puffed up - trying to be what they are not -- thinking they are drawing attention to themselves because they are bigger and better .... but are really easily recognized to be nothing more than a 'blown up balloon among beautiful blossoms!' !
We read in I Cor. how to identify 'counterfeit love'.
1Co 13:4 "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up."
We are warned in Colossians 2:18 to beware of the risks of being 'puffed up'.
"Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
While the 'puffed up' balloon fools no one as to its authenticity, the 'counterfeit bill' is much harder to spot!
One counterfeit bill on its own may look pretty good -- in fact cashiers have to be trained how to recognize them. But lay a counterfeit along side a legitimate bill and often it becomes rather obvious that it is sadly lacking some distinctive markings.
When we compare ourselves one to another .... we may be quite convincing ! Most people would even think we were admirable. But lay us alongside Christ Himself and suddenly we find that we do not measure up after all ! We are revealed for who we are!
Scripture admonishes us to be 'sincere' -- not a counterfeit !
Php 1:10 "that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ"
We live in a time and society that has become obsessed with 'reality'. Scan the current TV guide and you quickly see that reality shows are the fad of the day!
Usually, we need to temper or turn away from the world's obsessions but this time we can use it to our advantage! Let us show the world the reality of Christ living in us ... letting His love overflow our hearts and lives.
And is that not the secret to an authentic Christian life ?? God's LOVE in us, moving us to think and do according to the guiding of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us ?
"But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God:......by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love."