“Lilly sit still” My mother’s voice rings out
“I don’t want to” I say, as I punch and shout.
The fat jolly man on who’s knee I was sat
Thought it ok to give a soothing pat
But his touch didn’t soothe my flighty fight
In fact it didn’t feel quite right
And when I tried to sleep that night
The thought of him gave me an awful fright
I’d heard of Santa Claus and his right
To come into my home at night
Our security screens were in doubt
And wouldn’t keep this stranger out
My parents said “sleep” I must
For “Santa Claus we sure could trust”
But everything else they had taught before
Lay open in warning all over the floor
I knew I hadn’t done my best all year
So why were there so many presents here?
They told me he viewed me from all ranges
This proves I need to make no changes.
The kids at school told me it was all a lie
“My parents lied?” I wondered why…
So if that fat man they forced me to love
Wasn’t really watching from above
Perhaps there is no God there too
And why should I believe in you?
When I grew up and became a mum
I told my kids that was no fun
I wanted them to know I would tell no lies
Not of fairy’s or Santa or the bogey man’s flies
The birth of Christ is our Christmas story
A babe who came with hope and glory
His purpose here is losing impact
Diluted by a man with toys in his sack
I see these tricks now so much better
and it comes with the change of just one letter
Santa’s ‘N’ makes it’s way to the end
as Satan’s name is sure to offend
In a world so full of broken trust
A parent’s truth is a vital must
So before you tuck your kids in this eve
Be sure of what you make them believe
One of the major reasons I have avoided religious institutions during my faith walk, is due to the abundance of Imitation Faith which I have witnessed, and I realise I am not alone in this. While I thoroughly love being part of a faith-group where I can share in worship, and servitude, which challenges me, and yet supports me in my faith walk, I have found it difficult to find lasting support for the type of relationship I have with my Lord and Saviour. Still I keep an open heart, an open mind, and a willing spirit to go wherever He directs me. The true test is to be completely myself and not contort into someone I feel the church might support, I must focus on the promise that God supports me, and that is all I need. That being said, I have been blessed many times within church walls as God has moved me in and about. In fact I am currently befriending a new congregation and excited to see how God moves there.
Evidence of Imitation Faith disheartens and upsets me. Sometimes the imitation is glaringly obvious, you can tell within one interaction. Often the imitation appears so similar to the genuine article, making it difficult to identify, and it can take quite some time to recognise. If there is the possibility of hearing from the Lord through a Donkey, we have to have open ears no matter our whereabouts. It’s hard to explain how to tell the fake, because it’s not always due to behaviour, or language, or anything exterior. Sometimes it can be genuine for a season and then become corrupted. It is a constant battle of discernment. Genuine faith is an internal, private journey with submission to the specific, individual guidance from God, with opportunities to exercise our faith and obedience to fulfill each request, developing and maintaining a covenant with Him. Through each unique relationship, God reveals Himself to us, this is how we develop a familiarity with God’s Character so we can recognise, trust and truly love Him. Imitation faith attempts to push us all onto one same narrow path, it fails to grasp how vastly unique each of us is and which level our faith is at, or what is required to gain the next perfect level. It can severely mislead believers away from their God given path with guilt, than towards it with support. It’s no wonder that it can be something to be wary of. Much evidence throughout the bible states that within the Nation of believers there were only ever a remnant who obeyed God, only a remnant who trusted Him. Something else to remember is that Christ spoke in parables for a reason, to hide the truth, to prevent the imitation from knowing the secrets of the gospel. For good reason….
9 He that hath ears, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not.
Recently during a great conversation, I was reminded of a metaphor which my Dad used to explain imitation faith to me when I first began my adult faith walk. It was invaluable for me as a ‘Baby Christian’ to understand how easily we can be deceived into building imitation faith as apposed to genuine faith.
There was once a man who was flat broke, he had many bills to pay and debt collectors breathing down his neck. During a moment of extreme desperation he fell to his knees and prayed “If there is a God, please help me pay my bills”. The next week he was walking along the road on his way to a job interview for a job he would rather not do, when he discovered a briefcase, unlocked, full of money. Now the money was counterfeit, but the man didn’t care to wonder nor check. He went to the post office and paid his bills, it worked. His debt was cleared, he thanked “God” and he decided not to go to the job interview after-all.
The metaphor is that the pursuit of faith is just like the man’s pursuit of money, he needed it, he prayed for it, yet he found something less than perfection, less than righteous, less than true and he accepted it. He accepted it because it was an easier ‘answer’ to his prayer than the job interview God had actually provided, for a job that would have taught him priceless lessons about himself, about hard work, about responsibility, about the character of God and how to develop true faith in Him. He would have received an abundance of Godly blessings that would not only have covered his debts, but given him a lifetime without worry of money. He didn’t push past the imitation in order to search out the genuine, and settled for much less.
Lord, cover our mind with the amour of your salvation, that we may see and perceive, and hear and understand. That we never settle for the easier false options in our walk, and that we are blessed to be privy to your hidden truths, which fall on the soft soil of our hearts and not be stolen away, or overgrown with falsehood. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name I Pray! Amen!
When was the last time you felt torn, tested, tempted and deceived? Throughout my walk this has happened many times. Always before a huge breakthrough and a jump to a new level of faith, but at the time it is happening it is extremely tough going, dragging me to the edges of my sanity. My heart pulls one way, my flesh the other, my mind and my spirit also tug in opposite directions. It’s quite hard to focus and be effective when you feel split four ways. It can make you behave in ways that feel foreign and out of character. Scarily, cracks in focus easily lead to deception. My Dad used to say that being deceived was his biggest fear, and even though I too strive desperately for discernment, I recognise that hindsight exposes when deception has occurred. Thankfully Our Gracious Father above can turn our tests into our testimonies!
A faith walk is like walking along a join in the pavement, it’s a balancing act where missed footing doesn’t lead to an instant fall, in fact it can feel much the same as walking that fine line. If we forget to pay attention to each and every precise step, we may not even notice how far from the narrow path we have strayed.
Not only is having an effective faith walk a wobbly balancing act, fulfilling Godly purpose is a journey fraught with potholes. When a believer is determined to exercise their righteous gifts, venturing toward the goal God has placed in their destiny, they are certain to step into enemy territory. These determined ones are top priority foes for the enemy to tempt, to attack, to deceive. A common ruse the enemy uses is the counterfeit, often disguised in such a way as to appear Godly. Counterfeits come in many forms, false prophets, imitation faith, counterfeit gifts, and all are blatant impersonations of God, a subject I have written on previously in this post.
On a personal level, counterfeit gifts have been dancing circles around about me, on and off throughout my life. They attempt to drag my attention away from the true gifts which God placed in my spirit many years ago. New gifts are often exciting, bringing with them enthusiasm, inspiration, motivation, gratification. While gifts that are well worn often appear to have less of the glamour and more of the work. Hell bent on leading us away from our calling, the enemy can strut right up with a bright shiny new counterfeit ‘gift’ and convince us that it is a Godly one. The counterfeit appears so close to the genuine article that it takes some time before the truth becomes clear, the enemy can even mislead us within the very same nature of our genuine gift. Many times we can dive headfirst into the counterfeit because we believe wholeheartedly that God is the designer of it.
The scriptures warn us to be wary of falling for a counterfeit…
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
For me, deception is usually closely related to a manic episode, a humbling little quirk God obviously thought my personality could use. A manic episode is like being stuck to the side of a snowball rolling down an avalanche. Starting off small and manageable, perhaps a little bumpy, yet before you know it, it has grown bigger than you can cope with and find yourself hurtling toward the ground at a frightening pace, convinced of your ultimate destruction. It is easy to be misled when your thoughts have taken on a life and speed of their own.
This time of year is always somewhat manic, and discernment is particularly challenging around Christmas time when the enemy is in full force against believers who spread the true message of Christ and reject the Santa myth. Thankfully, true to form God’s word always gives guidance and weapons to wage war against these inner enemies.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
I recognise that in order to ‘bring every thought into captivity’, I need to be willing to pause for thought in the midst of the chaos and listen out for God’s instructions which I need to submit to and obey. I need to slow down my thoughts, I need some quiet time, some mindfulness, some time focused on God’s abundant presence.
I pray fervently, Lord help us focus our thoughts, pulling them into captivity and obedience. Show us the counterfeits and deceptions so we may fulfill the purpose of our true gifts. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name. Amen!
Most people who know me know that I have faith. I often get called ‘religious’ which progressively makes my skin crawl. These days I am quick to correct them, stating that “I am faithful, not religious!” I love to share stories about the wonderful things God has done in my life, but sometimes my stories are simply laughed at and dismissed. I am not surprised by this anymore and I try not to feel any offense. I realise the damage that has been done to the reputation of God through many years of worldly disagreements and disappointments, which led to war and doubt.
It saddens me that the God I know is getting a bad rap because His name is too often used as a front for ‘religious humans’ to hide behind. I believe most church goers mean well, but with all their influence, why are so many people increasingly deterred away from God due to their opinion of the church? For example I do not currently attend church and neither does many of my faithful friends and family. Ask yourselves honestly, how common is the reaction to want to run when someone introduces themselves as ‘A Born Again Christian’?
Is it simply that we may have had an experience with ‘religiosity’, or ‘crackpots’, rather than with the awesome and abundant love from God?
Isn’t it possible that someone who claimed to represent God to us may have let us down, betrayed our trust, or even caused us or someone we love pain? Therefore we may mistakenly apply the onus to fall back onto God and not the mere human using His name.
I personally would rather the onus fell back onto the enemy within the church, rather than blaming God for everything. So that we would continue to pursue His internal voice and build a relationship with Him, no matter what this world could do to us to try and cause lack of faith.
The Apostle Paul, wrote in the book of Thessalonians that the enemy of God would sit at the head of the church claiming to be God. (2 Thess 2:4 “The son of destruction, who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God.”)
Are we searching for God and finding His counterfeit?
I believe this counterfeit is fooling masses. If this enemy is actually an ‘angel of light’, he is not quite the obvious “red-horned” ugliness which we imagine we should be aware of. Thinking about it, I believe the enemy knows God very well, he was the Lord’s right-hand man, His closest associate. Who else could portray our Heavenly Father so convincingly, yet destroy faith in Him in the process?
I believe we need to seek into our own hearts where the true spirit of God lies and ask Him to show us His TRUTH. We need to strive to not settle for anything less, refusing to allow ourselves to be seduced by an easier, more attractive, and yet less righteous path.
We can test it by reading the Bible and researching to see if what we are led to believe lines up with what we read in God’s word and be humbled under His authority and virtue. If nothing else it’s a good read and a great guide for ways to handle the ups and downs of life.
I used to read the headlines from the back cover of the Sunday Mail every week, and every week the title was too appropriate for what I needed to hear. There are too many for me to mention but you would spin out if I could remember them all. My Dad and I used to laugh and shake our heads at the level of coincidence that was beyond almost any understanding, except that of a divine message. One Sunday morning, my husband asked me to grab him a paper while I was at the shop. It had been many months since I had bought the paper or read any ‘headlines’ and at that time I was feeling particularly distant from God. As I drove I spoke to Him in my heart, “Lord, have I slipped away? Have you still got me?” The radio was playing in the background, and as I pulled into my driveway a new song was introduced, as it started the melody caught my attention, as music often does, and rather than turning it off I sat in the car for a moment to listen. While I sat there, I remembered the paper and the headlines I had once applied to myself, so I flicked the paper over to see “I WON’T LET YOU DOWN” sprawled across the back page in huge black letters. I looked up and smiled, the chorus of the song kicked in and the male voice sang in a country twang “I won’t let you down!”
If God wants us to be convinced that we have come into contact with Him, He can make a confirmation appear in any unlikely place, wherever 2 or 3 witnesses (signs) confirm a word from the Almighty, you then know you have struck something directly from Him!
Many can inspire us, teach us, and guide us, and the enemy is always out to trick and deceive us, I recommend we never stop testing the things we are led to believe, never stop asking God questions and let Him be the only one we trust to show us His TRUTH!