<<on the surface, a veneer>>

Superficiality is often a form of deception. What’s underneath isn’t the same. The religious leaders of Jesus day were likened to “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Mt 23:27).

Many people who claim to be Christians only have a shallow relationship with Christ for when things don’t go their way, or adverse situations arise, they react in an ungodly manner. The parable of the ‘soil types’ indicates some give up as they have not put the

A veneer or façade won’t last

effort into laying a good foundation that can withstand the onslaughts of life (Mt 13:5,6,20,21). They haven’t the depth of reality and character to sustain them through the rough patches. Jesus spoke of two houses that may have appeared similar on a summer’s day – it was the storm that revealed if there was a good foundation established by “doing what He says” (Mt 7:24-27). Time and situations will reveal what is a skin-deep mask, put on to impress others. 

How we ‘build’ in life is our choice and decision; yet we live with the consequences (1 Cor 3:10-15).

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Purpose to be authentic and concentrate on laying a solid footing, based on the Bible’s directives. The salvation Christ offers is not just a quick external façade or makeover, rather a transformation starting at the core of our being, which radically affects every part of us (Lk 6:27-36). Allow the purifying power of the Holy Spirit to penetrate into the inner recesses of your life to bring cleansing deep within the heart – from where all we do originates and we also become believers of solid character (Prov 4:23).

Our concern for people must go deeper than just words, to practical action (Jas 2:14-18, 4:17). Pray for discernment to see below the surface to the real issues that influence people’s lives, so you can ‘kill the spiders, not just wipe away the recurring cobwebs’.

God is not interested in worship that is only lip service (lifeless words), while the heart (the real person) and lifestyle (the reality test) is far from Him (Isa 29:13; Mt 15:8).  Am I truly devoted to God, endeavouring to love Him with my total being which will be outworked in the fruit of my lifestyle

Is my Christianity real?

(Mk 12:30). Many who profess to be Christians have only a superficial faith that does not interfere with their self-centred lifestyle. It is an unbiblical Christianity that requires no repentance, has few restrictions, and asks for no sacrifice. The challenge of Scripture to us all is, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves" (2 Cor 13:5). God wants to transform our hearts not entertain our minds.

While it is commendable to witness and bring people to faith in Christ, His command to us is make disciples (fervent dedicated followers of Christ, who are allowing the Word of God to bring about increased Godlikeness) not just raw converts which is just the first vital step along the pathway to heaven (Mt 28:19,20).

Is my commitment to the Lord superficial by not being loyal and actively involved in His Kingdom, like the hired worker Jesus used in His illustration who is primarily concerned about himself and runs at the first sign of danger, whereas the shepherd/owner does all he can to protect the vulnerable sheep (Jn 10:11-13).

See also: character, deception, devotion, façade, foundation, hypocrite, root.