I started playing guitar when I was in grammar school. My mom signed me up for music lessons in the summer school program, I suspect to get me at of the house and out of her hair for a couple of hours. My grandma kindly obliged my mom by purchasing my first guitar. She acquired this musical instrument at Sears. Now, one thing I know for sure is that, Sears is not known for the quality of its musical instruments, and needless to say, I got more than a few snickers when I brought the instrument to class. But I was oblivious to all that back then, so I carried on faithfully with my lessons.
By the time I got into high school I realized I needed to upgrade to a better quality instrument, so I convinced my grandparents (who love spoiling their grandkids) to purchase a Yamaha FG250 acoustic guitar for me. Definitely a step up, but again, as I continued playing, I realized I needed a better sounding, quality guitar. Ultimately I was able to purchase one of the original models of the Ovation guitar, which I still have today.
Over the years though, I noticed the Ovation company started putting out less expensive, copies of their original instrument and I got to looking around and seeing that many musical instrument companies did the same thing, presumably to sell more of their instruments to those who can’t, or don’t want to spend a lot of money on their music.
So, how can you tell if you’re getting a good musical instrument or just an inexpensive copy? Generally by the sound of the instrument, but there’s a twist…I still have that Sears guitar my grandma bought for me, and it still sounds pretty bad, even after decades of care and aging. On the other hand, my Ovation sounds so much better today than it did when I purchased it back in the 1970’s. And that’s one of those things that mark the difference. Good, quality instruments actually develop a better, richer sound as they age.
In 1 John 4:1-3 we see the apostle John helping those believers he’s writing to determine what is real and from God, as opposed to what might look real, but is not from God. John tells them (and us) that those who claim to be from God have a test of quality in their ministry that reveals their true identity. That test is one of confessing Jesus Christ as God come in human flesh. The Greek word “confess” means to “say the same thing as another,” to “declare openly and freely what you believe.” John is telling his readers the way to determine if the message and messenger are real is to consider what their message says concerning the person of Jesus. Later on, in this portion of John’s letter, he will give a few more guidelines to help determine the quality of the message.
So, the question for us today is, what do you believe? Consider the costs God paid for the privilege of our salvation, and glorify God in heaven for His deep love for us. And if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, consider how easy it is to accept something that’s not real and not of the quality that Jesus brings. Don’t settle for less than Gods best. The price is well worth it, now and for eternity.