The art world becomes filled with excitement when some dusty attic reveals a long lost painting of a famous artist. The big question then arises; How can it be proved to be the real and genuine work of the artist or is it a replica of a well-known subject painted by someone else? Artifacts found in deserted caves are subjected to the same scrutiny. Are they really the work of some ancient tribe or clever replicas made to resemble those old treasures so profits can be made by selling them? Only the unwary buy a supposed genuine Swiss watch from a peddler on the street. True or false becomes a part of our vocabulary as we sort through the plethora of information available on the internet.
So how do we as followers of the Lord make sure that our faith and our Christian walk remains real and not counterfeit?
I heard a sermon on this subject and the speaker told a story which proved to be a graphic picture of what can happen if we allow counterfeit behaviour into our lives.
The story featured a little village of God fearing people that was surrounded by bandits and wild groups of roving thieves. The elders decided to surround the whole village with walls and for extra protection groups of men would be required to take turns at guarding the walls at all times, even at night, so no enemies could creep up unobserved. The men were faithful at first and the village was safe as any bandits passing by could see the guards always there, but slowly the men became tired of this constant guarding especially at night. One of the men had a brilliant idea. He suggested they make wooden replicas of the guards and at night when it would be harder to detect, leave them on the walls and they could sleep. The scheme worked for a little while until one night a roving band were surprised to see one of the replicas blown over by the wind. The game was over. The village was plundered. Replicas were no use against evil forces.
We need the same vigilance to ensure that we remain true and genuine disciples of Jesus Christ. If we become lulled into just looking like disciples, being replicas, not really living our faith fervently, we too are in danger of being overturned easily and led astray by any passing evil force. Paul was well aware of this danger and writes a powerful letter to the Ephesians urging them to think of themselves as warriors for the Lord and to think of Spiritual armour being available to withstand any attacks on their faith.
In Ephesians chapter 6 he writes about “the armour of God” He itemises this armour as; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the readiness of gospel peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit.
Jesus himself sums up the best test of a real disciple.
“…Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”” (John 8:31)
Holding to the word of God is a great way to assure that we are genuine followers and when we practise what Jesus teaches we will bring glory to the Father’s name and deep within us we will have the assurance that our anointing is real and not counterfeit.
“A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)