When we are trying to determine if something is genuine, real, or true, we look for certain hallmarks that are unique to the thing we are testing. For instance, before I could get a passport, the government required that I prove that I was really me – the genuine, real, and true Mike Hosey. I had to provide a birth certificate and a number of other identifiers that only I should possess. The birth certificate also had to have certain identifiers. It had to be original, or it had to be a copy with the raised and recognized seal of my birth state issued by an official authority.
Being able to tell when something is real and genuine is very important. Consider an air travel hack I use. When I’m traveling by airplane, I always mark my bags in conspicuous ways so that when I’m in the baggage claim area, I know which ones are mine — even if they are the same brand, style, type and color as someone else’s. Mine will have a unique duct taped pattern easily visible on prominent faces of the baggage. It’s unmistakable that they belong to me. In fact, it so unmistakable that I recognize them instantly. And so will just about anyone who knows me. Because we don’t live in some horrific dystopian science fiction world inhabited by both humans and uber-realistic humanoid robots that are indistinguishable from your neighbors, it’s not particularly difficult to determine who is a real person. A real person is any human being with flaws, problems, hurts, hang-ups and issues. Even “fake” people are real people. The only requirement for being a real person is to be a real human.
Identifying a real Christian can be a bit dicier, though. People, afterall, are very good at faking things. But here are some duct taped traits that should apply to all real Christians so that they are easily identifiable from a variety of angles: If you are a true Christian, you should be working continually on your submission to Jesus as your Lord. This should be evident in how you strive to do those things that please him (Matthew 28:19-20), and avoid those things that sadden him (Matthew 23:23-28, Matthew 23:37-39). You should be committed to fellow Christians (John 13:35). And you should display the Fruits of the Spirit, while starving to death those desires that don’t come from God (Matthew 5:22-24). If you attend to these things genuinely, then others will see the genuine article in you, and you will confirm your growth toward Godliness (2 Peter 1:5-10).