~By: Lindsey Whitmore~
My spirit is so burdened by the amount of people I encounter on a daily basis who feel confident in their faith that they can believe in God’s existence through Jesus Christ as their Savior, but feel no need to follow Him as their Lord. Some of the most popular responses I have personally heard from people defending their counterfeit faith are: "God is the God of forgiveness and grace. He knows my heart; God thinks I am funny, so I know He will let me in; God and I have an understanding; I believe in Jesus, and I am a good person."
We all know that ‘counterfeit’ is a term used to describe something that is a fraudulent imitation of something; a fake. Counterfeit is also defined as something made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud. With that, I immediately think of our adversary, Satan, whose schemes have fooled so many over the centuries. However, where the Lord has me reading recently in His Word, the Bible, my mind now thinks about how so many have not been duped by Satan, but actually their own wills. We want to believe the lies, because the truth, that should set us free, feels like a trap.
For example, when I first read Matthew 10:39, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it,” I was working for a well-known company and receiving enough money to support myself. I lived alone and was alone, as all my family had moved out of state, and this job was the only thing I felt I had. Losing it or giving it up was not an option. However, God reminded me of this verse. I was ‘clinging’ to this job for my security, my livelihood, and my provision, instead of clinging to Him for those things. I wish I could say this story ended with me being obedient and quitting as my gut, aka Holy Spirit, was prompting, but I cannot. I was fired. Although that day, I came to understand this verse. I felt such peace walking out of that office with my little brown cardboard box. I left thanking God for allowing me to find Him now by losing a job and finding a new life of reliance in Him and not later when there was more than a job on the line. I went home that day, dusted off my bike and went for a ride, singing the whole time. God became real that day!
America is a country built on the belief that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, we follow a God that tells us, like Abram, we must leave our country's ways and journey to a new land that He is preparing for us (Genesis 12:1). This new land is not built on the same principles that we have grown accustomed to. Instead, it is built on Christ Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Jesus gave up His rights as Lord and became a servant to all. Jesus shattered liberty and taught us how to live dependent on Him; He who lives completely dependent on His Father.
For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.” Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. Hebrews 2:6-11 NLT
Like Jesus, who gave up His crown temporarily, we must give up our rights and surrender our lives, our wills, our plans, and our pursuits to Him who was, is, and always will be the great ‘I AM.’ When we do this, we, like Abram, truly experience what it means to be a child of the Most High (Galatians 3:26; Psalms 82:6), and, like Abram, there are new names waiting for all of us. His became ‘Abraham,’ meaning ‘Father of Many’ (Genesis 17:5). Ours are waiting for us in Heaven. God tells us in Revelation 2:17, “I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” He not only will give us a new name, but He also gives us a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” His Word then tells us that through our pursuit of Him we truly become alive and live out the purpose and plan He created us for (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10). Through having an authentic relationship with Christ as our Master and Rescuer, we can experience all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
How does one start an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ as their Master and Rescuer? Well, like every other experience in life, we make a choice. We choose to believe God at His Word, that He is who He says He is, and, in light of who He is, we are created beings made to worship Him, our King. We choose to believe God at His Word that Jesus Christ is His one and only Son born of a virgin for the purpose of bringing redemption to all people before and after Him through His work on the cross. He was crucified and died on the cross, and He then was buried but did not stay that way. Three days later, He rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven to sit, again, at the right hand of His Father, God. We choose to believe God at His Word and obey His commands as they are written for people of then and people of now. We choose to take up our cross, like Jesus, daily, and choose to follow Christ's example, which has always been His plan and our purpose (Luke 9:23).
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 1 John 2:3 NIV
Our daily crucifixion looks like us choosing to bring Him our unbeliefs, our hurts, hang ups, temperaments, fears, and perceptions of this life and laying them at the foot of the cross for Jesus to pour His life blood over it all, so we can be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). It looks like the opposite of this world's example that everything is about our ultimate happiness.
There is no dressing up the word ‘crucifixion.’ It is painful, messy, and ultimately leads to death. However, this is exactly what has to happen in order for us to live lives of purified love. For me, it looks like choosing daily to forgive, pray for, and continue to pursue in love those who repeatedly talk bad about me and wait for me to make a mistake so they can make sure to let me know how big my mistake was. I also choose to believe God at His Word in John 3:16, “He sent his only Son to come and die for ALL;” that I was and am worthy of being saved. I have made a lot of choices that were all about self-preservation and a lot of choices out of utter selfishness that placed others in danger.
Our daily lives look like us pursuing Him through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word. We must be pursuing what our spiritual gifts are and seeking to use them in a body of Christ for the benefit of the whole body; the Church (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12; Ephesians 4). We must be pursuing the heart of Christ, which is preaching the Good News to all nations in hope to save some (Mark 16). As it is written in Matthew 28:18-20, known as the Great Commission, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Us pursuing the heart of Christ looks like loving others as He first loved us. These ‘others’ include those we don’t know, those that hate us, those who have wronged us and look to hurt us, as well as those we like and those we prefer.
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 1 John 4:17 NIV
Our daily prayer looks like: Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to wake and to worship You more appropriately today. In light of what I have just read, I want to dedicate my remaining days to You and You alone. Help me, Lord, fulfill my vow by granting me understanding of Your Word and granting me new eyes to see You, myself, and others through. Bring to mind all offensives that my life has been modeling and give me Your strength to abandon them; every last one. Don’t allow me to leave any strongholds or idols intact. Take from me my heart of stone and replace it with one of soft flesh ready to learn afresh of You, my Creator, my Savior, my Lord. Today I trade in all my counterfeit beliefs about You, and I receive a new authentic relationship in You!
If you prayed this prayer, please allow us to rejoice with you for your new life. Contact us and let us know how we can pray for you and continue to encourage you in your walk with Christ.