Article of Faith: The counterfeit life, By Femi Aribisala

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The life of millionaires and billionaires.

Imagine a situation in which you won big in the lottery. Tens of billions of dollars. The rich and the hoi polloi came to celebrate with you. But when the money was paid, it turned out to be fake. You were paid with counterfeit money. How would you feel?

Or you got a big job in a high-flying company. You were convinced that you were finally set for life. But when you were paid at the end of the month, you were paid with counterfeit money. How would you react?

Nobody likes counterfeit money. It might look like the original, but it is fake. If you try to use it to buy something, it is readily rejected. Nobody likes counterfeits. Everyone prefers the originals. We only ended up with the counterfeit because we did not know it was counterfeit.

Counterfeits are getting better and better. But no matter how like the original a counterfeit can be, it is still a counterfeit. The original is the real McCoy.

Counterfactual Wisdom

Trust the Bible to confound our intellect. Trust God to dazzle us with the counterfactual. God reveals that men prefer the counterfeit life to the real life.

God gave men a choice between the original and the counterfeit. Guess what happened? We preferred the counterfeit. What was our problem? We did not know the original. We thought the counterfeit was the original.

The devil asked Eve: “‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5).

Stealing the Counterfeit

The robber entered the bank in the dead of night. But all he stole was counterfeit money.

Eve wanted eternal life. But she already had it. The devil fooled her into trading the original for the counterfeit. She decided to steal the counterfeit, not knowing she already had the original.

Moses said to Israel: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Moses said to choose between the life that leads to life and the life that leads to death. But make sure you choose the one that leads to life, so that both you and your descendants may live. However, the Israelites chose death. They thought death was life.

Choosing Counterfeits

So, why are we sold on the counterfeit life? Why do we prefer the counterfeit life to the original life? The counterfeit is a shiny object. It is glamorous. It is vainglorious. It appeals to the sinful flesh. It is advertised everywhere at the instance of the prince of the power of the air.

It is the life of the rich and the powerful. It is showcased by the millionaires and the billionaires. It is the pride of the pop stars, the rock stars, and the movie stars. It is extolled by presidents, senators, and politicians. It is the boast of the mega-pastors in the mega-churches.

It entails living in big mansions. Driving fast and expensive sports cars. Owning airplanes and jet-setting all over the world. Wearing expensive designer clothes. Sporting luxurious jewelries and watches. Going to parties and spraying money. Hosting extravagant events for those of timbre and the calibre. Having many wives and mistresses.

The chief exponent of this ostentatious lifestyle in the scriptures is Solomon, and his verdict is that it amounts to nothing:

 

“I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labour in which I had toiled; and indeed, all was vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-8/11).

Spirit and Truth

Those who live the true life do not worship God on the mountains of Kilimanjaro. They do not build cathedrals with supermarkets and helipads. They do not drive around in a cortege of cars and cruise about in private jets in the name of evangelism. They do not worship God on street corners. Neither do they worship God outwardly to the praise of men. They worship God in their heart of hearts.

 

Paul describes them in the following manner. He says: “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3).

These true worshippers do not require praise or spiritual titles from men. They do not ask men to call them Daddy, Pastor, Your Eminence. They seek the approval of God and not the approval of men. They seek the face of God and not His hands. They do not worship God with men’s hands by paying tithes and by giving fat cat offerings. The Lord knows we are His.

Jesus says: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9).

True Life

Those who live the true life do not rejoice in their ships like the Chaldeans. They do not rejoice in their wealth, their houses, their limousines, their pedigrees, or their social statuses. They do not rejoice in their marriages, children, abilities, or even their achievements and successes. They only rejoice in what Jesus has done.

They rejoice in His finished work on the cross. They rejoice in the ransom He paid for us. They rejoice that, because of Jesus, they are now sons of the living God. They rejoice that they have been gifted with eternal life. They rejoice that their names are written in heaven.

They rejoice that they are now: “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (God’s) own special people, that (we) may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

They only rejoice in Christ Jesus in the knowledge that the glories of this world are all counterfeit. For all the riches of the world cannot redeem even one single soul.

Faribisala@yahoo.com; www.femiaribisala.com 

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