The genuine God and counterfeit pretenders

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I’ve often heard the analogy that for those whose job it is to spot counterfeit money, the best training is to study the real thing, to become so familiar with genuine money that spotting the fraud becomes second nature. When this analogy is applied to God and to His Word, it truly becomes some of the best advice a Christian can receive.  The better acquainted you become with who God is and what the Bible says, the easier it is to spot the charlatans. Along those lines, part of my testimony of coming to faith in Jesus includes attending a youth group the summer after I graduated from high school, before I matriculated at UConn. I distinctly remember going around to parties the first couple of days at UConn, and feeling like they were so fake after what I had experienced that summer. God, and the life found in Him, was the genuine article; all the parties had to offer was a poor imitation of the good life.

I bring this up because this past week I had another experience like that. God has been drawing me closer and closer to Him over the past few months, and giving me more and more of a sense of His presence and power. I have had the feeling that He is preparing me for something bigger that is coming my way, and that I need to be as tight with Him as possible in order to be faithful to Him through whatever opposition or rejection I might face. This past week, I picked up a book on my “books I want to read someday” shelf, a 1959 book called Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill, a preacher and evangelist with a distinctive Old Testament prophet character to him who was born in 1907, ministered throughout England and the United States, and died in 1994. Within a few pages, I was deeply convicted about my prayerlessness, and since then have found myself trying to turn to God in prayer and worship as often as I can. I am hoping and praying that this is not a phase, but rather the beginning of a deeper walk with God.

And now, for the counterfeit. I enjoy listening to podcasts, and a few hours after picking up the Ravenhill book, I turned on a sports podcast on my drive home. The co-hosts were discussing basketball “unicorns,” players who are one-of-a-kind in their make-up and abilities. I lasted about three minutes and had to shut it off as I screamed and shook my head. How could I waste my time listening to this meaningless conversation (ironically using a term referring to mythical creatures) when GOD was calling me to enter in deeper into His life and love? When would I stop playing games and enter the battle that is being fought for people’s lives??? The closer I get to the real thing, the more clearly the frauds are revealing themselves.

This year, many of us at NewLife have been reading through the Bible in conjunction with a podcast called The Bible Recap. Whether or not you are participating in that endeavor, I pray that as you spend time with the genuine article, with truth Himself, that you would be captivated by Him, and drawn into a deeper relationship with Him. And I pray that everything that is not of Him, that does not bring life, would begin to feel more and more like the counterfeit that it truly is.

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