Counterfeit or Real?

by Kimberly B. Southall

Please note: Each scripture is linked to The Bible Gateway.  Scriptures will open in a separate window in your browser while this window will also remain open.  You can click back and forth between the two windows.  Once you have read the scripture(s), you can close that window.

You've probably heard of counterfeit money, haven't you? Counterfeit money is fake money. It looks like real money and if someone isn't paying close enough attention, one can be fooled by it and it can be spent like real money. But counterfeit money isn't really money at all. It doesn't have any real value like money does. And when it is discovered to be counterfeit, or fake, it is destroyed.

What about you? Are you counterfeit or real? In other words, are you whatever you claim to be? If you claim to be a Christian, do you truly act like a Christian? Or do you just act like one when you think others are watching carefully?

In the Bible, there is a word which Jesus used many times to describe people who claimed to be followers of God but who really weren't following God at all. Jesus called them hypocrites. That was a word which was used at that time to describe someone acting out the part of a character in a play. In other words, Jesus called certain people actors-they weren't really what they appeared to be. They were faking it. Most generally, He was speaking to or about the Pharisees who lived during that time.

The Pharisees often did the right things but for the wrong reasons. For example, they would pray to God just so others would see them praying (Matthew 6:5), and they gave to the needy so others would honor them (Matthew 6:2). It is good to pray and to give to the needy, but the important thing to God is what your intention is when you do those things. If you only pray so that other people will hear you and think what a great person you are, then you have actually wasted your breath as far as God is concerned. If you only give to those in need so that others will think you are generous and kind, then what you have given to the needy may benefit them, but it won't do you one bit of good in God's eyes. The bottom line is, are you being counterfeit or real when you do good things? Do you do good things because you genuinely care? Great! However, if you do good things for the wrong reasons, then you are a hypocrite. And as Jesus often said, being a hypocrite would bring woe (anguish, misery, pain, sorrow) upon them. That's something to think about, huh?

Would you like to read some of the scriptures which mention hypocrites or hypocrisy? You can find them in the following places in the Bible: Matthew 6:2, 5, 16; Matthew 7:5; Matthew 15:7; Matthew 22:18; Matthew 23:13, 15, 23,  25,  27-29; Matthew 24:51; Mark 7:6; Mark 12:15; Luke 6:42; Luke 12:1, 56; Luke 13:15; Galatians 2:13; 1 Timothy 4:2; and 1 Peter 2:1. (To get the whole point of those scriptures, you'll need to read the scriptures which come before and after them, too. That's what is called reading in context.)

You have probably been guilty of being a hypocrite at one time or another--none of us is perfect. The good news is that you can change. In 1 Peter 2:1, the Bible tells us to rid ourselves of several bad qualities--including hypocrisy. Since God's Word instructs us not to be hypocrites, then it is definitely something you can achieve with God's help. Counterfeit or real? Don't settle for being fake and worthless; don't be a hypocrite or an "actor" in your own life. Be real. Do it with God's help.

Copyright © 2004 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.