The Great Pretenders

>> Friday, April 4, 2014

Today I have a guest blogger, my daughter Lorri Lane. 

After many years of expressing his desire to learn the German language, my dad recently received the Rosetta Stone software program as an early Father’s Day gift. Beyond excited, he immediately immersed himself in the language-learning process, repeating words and phrases into a microphone as he progressed through each lesson. As mom passed by his office, she would hear dad having virtual “conversations” in German.  “Bitte” dad would repeat after hearing the computer-generated voice.  “Ich möchte bitte eine Tasse Kaffee.” Her heart smiled as she listened to him thoroughly enjoying himself, like a child with a new bike for Christmas.

When I returned home during a break from my teaching position in Georgia, dad was eager to share what he had learned about the German language with me. After briefly demonstrating how to navigate through the program, I observed the listen/repeat sequence several times. “Would you like to try it?” dad asked. Since I had acquired some foreign language skills during my overseas travels, I accepted his offer, confident in my ability to speak basic German. Pulling my chair closer to the microphone, I began the lesson module.

“Die Blume ist gelb.” I knew the meaning of the phrase (The flower is yellow) before I repeated the words. “Die Blume ist gelb.” I replied. Much to my surprise, the computer made a sound that indicated an incorrect response.  I repeated the phrase again: “Die Blume ist gelb.” Again, my response was not accepted. Time after time, phrase after phrase, the program would not accept my responses. Baffled by my lack of success, I eventually managed to complete the lesson module after multiple attempts. Was ist passiert?

The next evening,  I participated as a guest in the Experiencing God  small-group study hosted by my parents.  At one point, we were discussing ways in which Christians should not only seek knowledge about  God and the Bible, but should be immersed in His love, grace, and mercy as well. During the conversation, dad began to discuss his new language-learning software, and a correlation was formed between immersing yourself in a new language, and immersing yourself in a relationship with Christ. Just as foreign-language fluency is not achieved by the ability to speak a few out-of-context phrases, or use single words while pointing at an object, a relationship with Christ is not achieved by the ability to memorize a few verses of scripture, or throw out a “Halleluia” or an “Amen” once in a while, so that others may be impressed by your fervent devotion to the Christian faith.

Just as the computer program was not impressed by my attempts to speak German, Jesus is not impressed by our attempts to “speak Christian-ese” Although we might know all of the “right” words and phrases, He knows who the counterfeits are. He knows who is full of self-confidence, but lacks sincerity.  You might be able to deceive others, but you can’t deceive Jesus.  He knows.  Danke, Jesus. Vielen Dank.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (MSG)

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