Friday, September 30, 2022

Carbon Copy - Martin Wiles

carbon copy
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6 NLT

Now, I can enter the number of copies and click print, but then there was a carbon copy. 

During the summers when I helped my grandfather on the ice cream truck, I watched him stuff a ticket book in his back pocket. When he entered the Mom-n-Pop stores or grocery stores—and after he had straightened up the ice cream—he whipped the book from his pocket and recorded what the customer needed . . . but not before he made sure the carbon paper was correct. 

Carbon copies were the original copier machine. The size of the carbon paper matched the paper on which it hid between. When placed properly, and when pressed on hard enough, whatever the writer wrote on the first sheet was copied on the second sheet. My grandfather gave the top copy to the customer as a bill and as a record of what they had purchased, and he kept the second copy for company records. 

When I read the verse John wrote to first-century Christians—and current-day believers—I thought about the old carbon copies and how they relate to my spiritual journey. God wants present-day believers to be carbon copies of Jesus, just as He did those in the first century and before. But it doesn’t happen automatically. 

God provides the necessary materials. When we trust Christ as our Savior and ask forgiveness for our sins, He gives us His Holy Spirit as a permanent resident in our life. He also provides us the privilege of approaching His throne in prayer whenever and as often as we want. Still, more is needed. 

Carbon copies required pressure. Unless I pressed hard on the first sheet, what I wrote would not come through on the second. God brings and allows pressure in our lives in the form of trials and temptations. If we react correctly, these pressures draw us closer to God, which is His intended purpose. When we move closer, we act more like Jesus. 

Making a good carbon copy required aligning the carbon paper with the paper it was between. Otherwise, a part of what I wrote might not correctly translate. Our positions are prayer, worship, humility, selflessness, and desire. When these are present, we’ll align properly with Jesus’ example. 

Carbon copies also required replacing. After so much use, the carbon copy wouldn’t do its job anymore—or either the copy would be so light as to be illegible. While we only must ask for salvation once, we do have to keep going back to God through prayer, Bible study, and worship if we’re going to represent Jesus well in our words, actions, and attitudes. 

Don’t let your carbon wear out. Keep it fresh so you can be a good copy of Jesus in a world that needs to experience Him. 

Prayer: Father, make us carbon copies that accurately reflect You. 

Tweetable: Are you a carbon copy of Jesus? 

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