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I remember when I saw a program showing how they used to film Gunsmoke, one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. I learned that Dodge City was really just a place in the middle of nowhere not even close to the real one. There was no Longbranch Saloon, no stores or jail, it was all front with nothing behind it — a facade, a wooden structure that only made it look like a city on television. If you looked through the door you would only see more of the prairie. Kittie, Doc Adams, Chester, Festus and Marshal Dillon were sitting on a set somewhere, not the Longbranch where you thought they were. The Gunsmoke set is like many people. They only have a front with nothing behind it. They are all facade. That is why they cannot afford to be transparent — people would see right through them.

But an important part of the Christian life is the development of something behind the facade. It is the growth of character, and a spiritual life that supports who we are. Only when we really come to Christ and have a relationship with God do we begin to have substance. We are not just keeping up appearances, we are developing a quality of character. Being a Christian means being real.

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