My colleagues and I had the Coke-Diet Coke-Coke Zero debate last week. We all agreed that Diet Coke tasted nothing like regular Coke, while the taste of Coke Zero does resemble its predecessor. Except for our calorie-counter friend, all of us preferred Coke to the alternative versions. If you were to pour them into three separate unmarked containers, most people would probably be able to taste the difference.
Have you ever taken a sip of Coke, but it was actually Diet Coke? Didn’t you feel betrayed? It is definitely a weird feeling when we expect to drink one beverage, and we get something totally different. For instance, back in the days when I went to McDonald’s frequently, they would sometimes give me Coke instead of Dr. Pepper. When you expect Dr. Pepper and get Coke, your taste buds go for a crazy ride. In reality, all of the caramel colored, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated water beverages look the same, but their tastes are very different.
A few days ago, I was at Starbucks enjoying a Grande Pike Place Roast and reading a book. With about a quarter of my coffee remaining, I became enthralled in my book, and I went for about 15 minutes without taking a sip. As I turned a page to the next chapter, I reached over, picked up my cup, and took a sip of 75-degree coffee. Despite popular opinion, coffee is not to be consumed at room temperature. What was once a delicious cup of hot coffee had cooled to become gag-inducing.
I think a lot about what real faith feels like, because it is the cornerstone for spiritual growth. God calls us to be authentic with Him – to go into His presence as we are and lay everything at his feet. It takes courage, humility, and trust to be able to do this. It takes a genuine faith in a living God.
We often think about what we need to do to be “good” Christians. How will our actions display our faith? While a genuine faith will act itself out, it goes a lot deeper than the surface – what it appears to be. A high percentage of people in your life may appear to have everything together. Work is great. Got the promotion. The kids are doing well in school. Got a good interest rate on a mortgage. As it may turn out, there are unmentioned struggles. Fights. Arguments. Doubt. Fear. We act as if everything is great, but we are broken.
We were once hot, and then something happened. We became stagnate. Our faith was challenged. We were neglected. Now we are a cold cup of coffee. It looks the same. Less steam. Bad taste.
We act like we are in top form. Everything is great. No problems here, but what is within cries out for help. We muffle it, and put a seal on it that it is Coca-Cola Classic, but you know it’s Diet.
What will it take for transparency to be socially acceptable in life? When can we stop playing the game that everything is fine and openly confess our fears, doubts, and struggles that haunt us?