Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Fake It Till You Make It

A few years back, an acquaintance of mine who is a developer, and "loves our church" (he has attended only once), wanted to help us out by getting us involved with a man with whom we could invest and get something like 300% profit on our money in a matter of a year. This acquaintance has done pretty well for himself, so I told him I would visit with this man. He brought him over to the church property one early evening. This guy would have been a nightmare for airport security with more gold chains around his neck than a rap diva along with his entire posse. He had a leather top hat with an entire leather suit. Each finger had a gold ring, two of which were large diamond studded, gold encrusted dollar signs. Several of the chains attached to heavy bejeweled crosses. I could go on, but he was a hoot that barely allowed me to keep a straight face. He went through his whole spew like a late night infomercial host and I nodded and smiled appropriately. At the end, I refused and I could tell my developer friend was disappointed. About a year later, I asked him how his business dealings had gone with this man, and he informed me that I had made the right decision. He and his brother had lost tens of thousands of dollars.

That was an easy call for me. It all sounded too good to be true because it was, well, too good to be true. I figured his whole get-up probably worked in certain circles, but to me it was as obvious as a Bozo the clown outfit. I thought it must be fun for him to put on that costume and go out to do 'bidness,' purely as an act. Outward appearance can fool men. People can put on an act that will convince people they're true. Judas Iscariot got that done for at least three years until he ran out of energy, something that often happens when you camp out most nights with no pillow. Most of the Bible talks about externals, what we are to do, how to behave. However, more important than the externals are who we are on the inside. One of the more popular passages in all of Scripture, 1 Samuel 16:7, reminds us that God looks on our heart. He does, which is one reason why Jesus said, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34), "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45), and "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man" (Matthew 15:18).

Do you have a tendency to skip over lists of verses and not read them? You got caught again. Go back and read the verses. Or maybe you could just fake it and make people think that you did. No, go read them. Some, I'm convinced, fully intend to get it real on the inside after awhile of faking on the outside, and then just never get it done. They actually never do fake it 'till they make it. And who are we faking anyway? It isn't God.


Unknown said...

WOW, that is a 'special' picture. I did a double take on that one. Thanks for the post. It is a helpful reminder.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

This idea is something that many young people in fundamentalism need to understand and learn. It is also something that the leadership of fundamentalist churches must recognize as a real danger. Externals are very important. And they are necessary for young people to do even if they don't understand. But there needs to be a time of "graduation" to reality. A time when the good externals are truly the manifestation of the heart.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I listened to your message on Gal. 3, Graduation Day. I think a major emphasis in Galatians is inside-out obedience. Thanks.