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Vol.  10  No. 10 October 2008  Page 8
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Priscilla's Page By Marilyn LaStrape *Editor's Note*

Marilyn LaStrape

Keeping It Real

By Marilyn LaStrape

I wrote the article “Account for Life” for Gospel Gazette in January of this year. That article was based on some of the minister’s remarks made at the funeral of a sweet sister who went to glory in November of 2007.

At that service, one of the relatives of the deceased made this comment to me, “Marilyn, I have always liked you because you keep it real; you always know where you stand.” I called and asked her exactly what she meant by that comment. She sent me a note; this is what she said. “That means you are the same and you change not in any situation. You are a nice person and appear to be a godly person. Someone will always see the good traits in you and will always speak good words concerning you. Matthew 5:16 says, "Let your light shine that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ Marilyn, continue to do this. Be encouraged.”

Her remarks about me always being the same, brought to mind a statement a relative had made years ago. She said, “Marilyn, there’s one thing I have always liked about you; no matter how long it has been since we have seen you, you are always the same.” Years before that a good sister in the faith said to me, “Marilyn, we always know where we stand with you; we may not like it, but we always know where we stand.”

These three women never met. They did not know one another at all! In each instance, I was always moved with thankfulness. It brought to mind Proverbs 27:2; “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Their assessment of this one aspect of my character is just who I am; however, I freely confess as I continue to mature in the faith, God’s Word has deepened my conviction to always try to be real.

Keeping it real is not always easy; none of us are perfect, but we must be authentic! What does it take to “keep it real”? Some of the synonyms for “real” are reliable, accurate, faithful, genuine, bona fide, frank and heartfelt. The world in which we live today is overrun with counterfeits of every stripe, causing virtual skeptics among the best of us. We see everything from fake tears of remorse to fake people through stolen identities.

Our lives should be such that people think twice before saying or doing anything when they are in our presence that would dishonor God!

  • There are times when keeping it real means our silence speaking volumes to others when they are engaged in slanderous conversations and making ungodly, thoughtless comments.
  • There are times when keeping it real calls for us to stand up and speak up even if we are standing alone when right and wrong is the issue.
  • There are times when keeping it real means someone is relying upon our word to the utmost and without question.
  • There are times when keeping it real means speaking frankly and honestly about a most difficult and unpleasant situation.
  • There are times when keeping it real means demonstrating integrity that stands in unthinkable and devastating circumstances.
  • There are times when keeping it real means maintaining a strong and proper perspective.
  • Above all, keeping it real is living a life that is acceptable before God!

We sing the song, “My God Is Real” and the lyrics of that song speak of the vibrant, vital and personal spiritual connection we as Christians must have to keep our relationship real! God empowers us to be real through Jesus Christ, because without Christ, we can do nothing. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Since we can do nothing without Christ, we are nothing without Christ.

Keeping it real is emulating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Peter challenges us to keep it real by adding to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

All of these attributes are God’s expectations of us as His [goodwill] ambassadors for Jesus Christ. He was the most real person who ever walked the face of this earth! As the Lord’s representatives, it is imperative for us to keep it real. Christ must be seen in us every day, everywhere and in every way.

What are some of the character traits that come to the minds of others when they see us or hear our names? Keeping it real is a lifelong diligent task. Keeping it real is going to cost us, but then it cost our Lord, did it not?

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