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Jul 25, 2022 08:00am
Diet Jesus
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“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” 1 John 5:21

In 1971, Coca Cola released a TV commercial often referred to as “Hilltop,” showcasing attractive, diverse young people stretching across a lush green landscape while singing about obtaining “the REAL thing” as the solution to global unrest. (If only!)  

That initial messaging infers that by evening, over shared conversations and sips of Coke, humanity would unite in world peace as effortlessly as the lyrics were harmonized. But let’s be honest. That slogan’s main function was to position Coke as the true, authentic, original, REAL version of soda that would enhance the planet . . . and the logo stuck.

Yet over the years, rebranding to the more popular Diet Coke/Coke Zero products has given consumers varied selections . . . 569 products, according to one source (paperjaper.com). I guess THE REAL thing needed some additional developing to meet the pocketbooks of more consumers. Thus, the REAL thing became fluid and in need of enhancements.

Stay with me. I think there’s a spiritual lesson here that translates pretty quickly. What are you reaching for these days to “satisfy” your thirst?  

What flavor, sugar content, or carb count do your taste buds crave? 

Do you imbibe in Diet Jesus, Church Zero, decaf Gospel with a shot of compromise, or a squirt of flavored tolerance? 

Let’s be honest and transparent. Keepin’ it real. (I couldn’t resist!)  We don’t have to frequent a coffee bar or drink aisle to observe what we’re ordering. We can see it in our actions, attitudes, and values long before we pull up to the speaker and order or haul the cases home. As believers, things truly do go better with the Real Thing, if your REAL thing is biblical. Yet adding to or taking away distorts everything.  It’s the difference between heaven and hell, not just calories, and sweeteners.   

There are lots of imposters vying for your purchases, mindset, and worldview. How we rationalize, excuse, or instruct our children affects us all. Watering down your soda might make it weak, but watering down the gospel makes all of us weaker. You begin selling a cheap substitute! 

Earthly beliefs based on personal preferences, manmade menus, and cultural recipes may sell, but often aren’t steeped in biblical principles. Even saved folks can form their own buffet lines of limited biblical practices, but sadly, they interfere with discipleship and stunt true evangelism. Cue apostasy.

Are you ordering the world’s fad thirst quenchers? Do you prefer Jesus-Lite in your daily walk?  Are you filled (salvation) or totally indwelled (discipled) with God’s REAL thing: Christ?  Examine your routine. What sloshes out of your cup when irritated, stressed, or stretched thin with the chaos of this world? Make it a refreshing, cool encounter with THE eternal Real Thing, Jesus! He is the  guarantee that can’t be beat and you truly will thirst no more.   

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