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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Real

January 27th, 2007

Over the holidays some dear friends gave me a great Christmas present. Tickets to Santa’s Village, a Christmas theme amusement park that sets up each year at Firebird Raceway here in Phoenix. We had a blast on the rides, eating kettle corn and cotton candy. It was a delightful afternoon spent making memories with my twin 6-year old daughters.

At the end of the day on our way out of the park was a giant snowman. One of those oversized inflatable costumes with a person inside. I took the kids’ picture by it and Emma shook the snowman’s hand.

As we continued on to the car, Emma said, “Daddy, that wasn’t the real Frosty.”

“Why do you think so, Emma?”

“Because I felt a finger.”

Kids have a sense about what’s real. And what’s not. They know. Like the old saying, “You can’t fool kids and dogs.” Emma knows that Frosty isn’t supposed to have fingers. And when it comes to matters of the heart, kids have discernment beyond their years. They know what’s real and what’s not. It’s a God-given protection, I think.

Real.

What’s real? Is it the oversized, puffed up costume that other people see? Or is it what’s attached to the finger on the inside?

Our culture places a high value on how things look on the outside. It’s why we wash our cars, paint our houses and our faces, get plastic surgery, ink tattoos and buy designer clothes. We spend a lot of time and money on looking good.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with presenting well, unless it’s the basis for our identity. Yet do we spend equal time on what our inside looks like? The condition of our heart and soul? The places no one but God can see? Our Frosty may be all white on the outside, but what does he look like on the inside?

During Jesus’ days of walking the earth the Frosty’s at the gate were a group called the Pharisees. No one could argue with their diligence, their discipline and high regard for God’s law. The problem was they focused too much on outward appearance. They made sure everyone knew how holy they were. Their polished exterior covered an inner heart of pride and self-righteous arrogance. Jesus called them “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”

Ouch.

Let’s choose to be real. Even if we are able to make it through life fooling kids and dogs, we can’t fool God. He knows the condition of our heart. We may succeed in fooling everyone around us but the day will come when we’ll have to be honest with God. You might say that He, too, knows that the real Frosty doesn’t have any fingers. And He’s going to ask about what’s inside. Because He cares more about the condition of our heart than the costume we’re wearing. 

The good news is that God is always here to help us clean up. He isn’t surprised by what He finds inside our heart. A simple, “God, I need help with this” is all it takes to start the process. He is unfailing and unconditional in His love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. He is the gentle healer.

Let’s be real.

“Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean.” – Matthew 23:27

“You desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom. Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” – Psalm 51:6-7