The problem with counterfeits is that they look, sound and maybe even smell like the real thing, but they’re not. How can we tell the difference? Well, in the case of the enchilada...we just need to dig in to find out. However, if we’re talking about Christians, things suddenly become a little clouded...or do they? The Bible does indicate certain attributes of the counterfeit. Here are some to chew on:
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Phil. 3:18,19
One mark of the counterfeit Christian is wrong values.I guess the question I should ask myself is, what are the most important issues I face each day? Are they ‘me’ centered, or ‘God’ centered?
Secondly, they mind “earthly things.”
Earthly things are products of living in this world...but they are not enough. Our focus should not be based on immediate issues such as money, status, or self-exhaltation, but on the absolute values which God declares. “Seek first his (God’s) kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Here’s a scripture that I am constantly reminded of, especially as I look around our present world.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘ I never knew you; depart from me, you evil-doers.’” Matth. 7:21-23
This is truly a disturbing scripture. It hints at delusion. These ones are certain that what they are doing will win praise from Christ, but are they mistaken? They did it all in “His Name.” This included prophecy, teaching, healing, counselling, deliverance, and mighty works. Yet there is a problem. They desired prestige and favor by doing religious things. Through it they were sincere, earnest, and dedicated, but it was all secretly directed at magnifying their own selves. The fact that Jesus says he never knew them indicates that they had not experienced new life in Him.
Thirdly, they desire power.
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that your are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Rev. 3:15-17
These think they are Christians. They see themselves as powerful because of these things: money, numbers, and wealth.
- Many will tell you that money is power; and in this world that is true. But money cannot change hearts, or break evil habits, or open deluded eyes.
- The largest church, with the finest people may feel that they can do almost anything. But this too is a delusion of power.
- We have need of nothing...say the wealthy. We have all it takes to do what needs to be done. Yet they do not realize that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.
When searching our own hearts, do we find self-centeredness? Are we concerned for the needs of others? Do we harbour bitterness and resentment? We must ask Him to deal with our pride and fill our hearts with all He has for us. All we should be, with lives full of love, joy, peace, grace, joy, and glory. If our lives feel dull and meaningless, uncertain and dark, then perhaps we’ve failed to take what He came to give. For He came to give life abundant.
That is what the Christian life is; all of Him being all that He is, in you!
Source: What On Earth Is Happening? Ray Stedman
Until Next Time,