How to ID a Counterfeit

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Brad Mathias warns us to watch out for the false promises from our culture that crowd into our homes and subtly re-orient our lives away from truth.

I’ve been to several large cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. On the street, you have to be careful, vendors are everywhere selling “genuine” Rolex, Gucci or Prada luxury items for 80% off retail. Those items are a hundred percent counterfeit. A waste of money.

What’s not so obvious are the false promises that crowd into our homes and subtly re-orient our lives away from truth. Busy to the point of near emotional and mental exhaustion, it’s easy for a mom or dad to miss the details in our kids lives as we rush to get dinner or make it on time to our next destination.

Our children are being told they must have perfect hair, perfect figures and perfect skin to be loved, or worse, perfection is essential to be “worth” loving. Girls are constantly hit with images of rail thin, photo-shopped models of impossible perfection wearing the latest trends and makeup. Guys are overshadowed by well muscled, fashionable men who can comfortably woo women, sing in tune and score the winning touchdown on their way to an academic scholarship at a premier college.

The counterfeit or lie that’s being relentlessly told to our kids is this: You’re not enough as you are. True happiness in life requires something “more,” something “other.”

Like most counterfeits, there is just enough truth and validity to make it an effective lie. The half-truths aimed at our kids cause problems with us as parents, too. The truth is, we really aren’t all that happy on our own. We DO NEED something “other." it’s just that other isn’t a new french miracle skin cream, larger biceps or a size 4 jean.

John 10: 9-11(ESV) “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

If we want to find this better, truer life, to experience genuine happiness, we will need to connect with the Good Shepherd, who promises to give us “rest” or “peace” in this life. Nothing else out there is going to satisfy us like the one who made us, who knows the “real” us.

A timely reminder for parents who struggle with finding a way to live a balanced life. So often we find ourselves tempted to squeeze more and more of God out and inserting more and more of the “other” in.

I’ve listed some of the more common “fakes” we all fight. May God, in His Mercy, grant us the strength and honesty to admit, repent and remove these “others” from our lives. “In our weakness, His strength is perfected”… May it be more so now, Lord.

Common Counterfeits to fight; 

  1. Addictions are designed to counterfeit the real or intended pleasures of life & deceive us from placing our hope in the authentic. 
  2. Cult of the dynamic personality... Counterfeits the “genuine ” & intimate faith relationship that was intended for us with Jesus alone and replace it with a often dynamic & tangible person we can touch / feel / see, we transfer our trust and hope and faith to someone fallible and risk confusing God with man.
  3. Counterfeit opportunities for recognition, gain or advancement...  When we ignore what we know of service, humility and hard work for the leap of logic to take advantage of a “can’t miss” opportunity, no matter the cost to our principles. 
  4.  Counterfeit relationships... When we ignore the “process” God prescribes for a healthy intimacy during dating, we allow ourselves to be deceived with a artificial intimacy or a powerful counterfeit emotional rush that fools us and we can become trapped by getting the very thing we “thought” we wanted.

Seasons are changing, spring is marching into summer. Graduation and marriage and moving are all on the horizon… let’s be sure we keep to the "truth” in all things and especially in our own homes.

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