We are an artificial society. Not only do we pretend in our relationships, always putting on our Sunday best to hide our flaws, we see artificial things all around us. Sit at any table in a restaurant and you will likely see a myriad of various colored packets of artificial sweeteners, all intended to replace sugar. Before pictures were on driver’s licenses, many young people had fake (artificial) identification cards, hoping to be allowed to buy or consume alcohol before they reached the legal drinking age. Since the election of our current president, not a day goes by when we don’t hear something about fake (artificial) news. We now live in the age of artificial intelligence; computers performing tasks that once required human intelligence to perform. Have you heard of meat analogue – a fancy name for the fake meat being eaten by people for health, ethical, or religious reasons?
Seemingly unnecessary cosmetic surgery is continually on the rise; fake breasts, fake noses, hair implants, all intended to make us somehow “look” better. We equate looking better with feeling better, usually just an artificial and temporary “feeling better.” (Please note, we are not talking about the surgeries to restore one’s body after things like being burned in a fire, injured in a car accident, or damage done by cancer treatments.)
What is artificial? It can be best defined something like this – made to imitate what is natural, actions or attitudes that are insincere and disingenuous. While artificial is not always bad, it is usually marketed as “better than the original.” Rarely though is artificial better than what is natural, genuine, or original. Maybe easier, but not better.
Not only are we an artificial society, we are often artificial human beings. It is human nature to want to look good to those around us. Think back to when you asked someone out on a date for the first time. Did you “say and do all the right things,” even artificial things, in order to get that person to say yes? We are artificial in that our outward appearance doesn’t always line up with our inner reality. You can wash your shirts, hang them on the clothesline in the sun to dry, but if you put them back on over your dirty body, they don’t stay clean for very long.
While we can clean ourselves up on the outside, we cannot, due to our sinful nature, clean ourselves up on inside. Only God can do that. We can play a part in cleaning ourselves up by the choices we make, but the power to change comes only having a relationship with God. King David knew this to be true. After his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his ordering the murder of her husband, was exposed by a prophet name Nathan, here is what David cried out, found in Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me.”
Today, are you desiring to stop being artificial? If so, like King David, cry out to God, asking for a clean heart, one that leads to a right spirit in you. There is nothing fake or artificial about that!
New Bern, North Carolina