Apart from microscopic inspection, cubic zirconia gems look just like diamonds, but they aren’t worth nearly as much. Why? Because perception of value determines the amount people are willing to pay.
Do we want granite countertops or something that just looks like granite? Something artificial is fine as long as the appearance is enough to satisfy our desires. Cubic zirconia might be good enough for a wedding ring. But if not, we insist on real diamonds.
Some of the most highly respected religious leaders of Jesus’ day were called “whitewashed tombs” because they were more concerned with appearance than who they were on the inside (Matthew 23:27). The apostle Paul says some people will be satisfied with a form of godliness that appears real but really isn’t, lacking the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:2–5).
Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant who found a pearl of exceptional value. What did he do? He sold all the pearls he had so he could have this one pearl, which he would never be willing to sell.
If we want the real deal, we must recognize the value and be willing to pay the price.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking costly pearls. When he found one pearl of exceptional value, he sold everything he owned and bought it. — Matthew 13:45 from Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story