Encouragement for Today - June 6, 2005


June 6

Encouragement for Today


“Counterfeit Christianity”

By Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:


Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (NKJ)





Today if you were to ask someone what it took to be a Christian, you might hear something like this: “They would need to be at church every time the door is opened, serve on at least three committees, teach Sunday school, take food to the hospitals, prisons, and the elderly, and never get discouraged, never doubt, or have any fun.”


Whew! Not even Wonder Woman could handle all of that! I’m not saying that these are not good things to do, and that good works are not the evidence of our faith. What I am saying is that we’ve turned our walks with God into jobs instead of relationships, by adding a lot of extra baggage to our faith that we don’t need. The enemy has deceived us with the illusion that being busy is the way to secure eternal life.


It reminds me of the Galatians who started out with faith in Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life. Then, quickly they began adding works to their faith in order to secure their eternity. In chapter 3 we see Paul asking them, “Who bewitched you? Did you receive the Spirit of God by works of the law or by faith?” They had received it by faith. So in verse 3 Paul adds, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, why are you now trying to be perfected in the flesh?”


Listen, friend, our Christian life begins by faith, it is lived by faith; and it ends in faith. Life is heavy enough just juggling the roles of daughter, wife, friend, employee or mother. Why do we make believing in the cross of Christ for salvation harder than it is? We don’t need to add something – Christ’s death was enough!


It reminds me of a story I heard about a man in an airport who was worried about missing his plane. He didn’t have a watch and couldn’t locate a clock, so he hurried up to a total stranger and asked for the time.


The stranger said, “Sure, I have the time,” as he set down two large suitcases. “It’s exactly 5:09, the temperature outside is 63 degrees and it’s supposed to rain tonight. Oh, and by the way, in London the sky is clear and it’s a cool 38 degrees. And the moon should be full there tonight.”  The man was amazed at the stranger’s watch. “Your watch tells you all that?” the man asked.


“Oh yes,” the stranger answered, “and much more.”


“I would like to buy your watch. I’ll pay $2,000 for it right now,” offered the man.


“No, it’s not for sale,” said the stranger, as he reached down to pick up the suitcases.


“Wait! I’ll pay you $4,000, cash.”


“No, I can’t sell it,” said the stranger, “I’m going to give it to my son for his birthday. I invented it for him to enjoy.”


“Okay,” said the man, “I’ll give you $10,000 for it. That’s my final offer.”


“Ten thousand?” the stranger paused, “Well, okay, it’s yours for $10,000.”


The man was thrilled.  He took the watch, snapped it on his wrist, and turned to leave, when the stranger yelled, “Wait!”


With a big smile on his face, the stranger handed the man the two large suitcases and said, “Don’t forget the batteries.”


Sometimes we fall into the trap of a well planned out religion, instead of practicing simple faith. We tend to add works, expectations, and pressures to our faith that God never intended. That’s adding a lot of extra baggage we don’t need to carry!


So why not take Paul’s advice? Don’t be deceived into thinking that good works produce pure faith.  That’s an illusion.  True faith is not a long series of religious performances that we do to impress others or win God’s approval and eternal life. Our heavenly Father is satisfied by the saving work of the cross. Genuine faith trusts the person of Jesus Christ for salvation. Anything we add to that is counterfeit Christianity.



My Prayer for Today:


Dear Lord, forgive me for trying to earn your love and forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and to offer me eternal life. Today, I’m turning from my sins and trusting in Christ along for my salvation. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Application Steps:


Sit down and look at your motives for the works you do for God. Is it birthed out of pure faith and gratitude for what He has done for you, or is it from duty and obligation to win His favor? If it’s the latter, confess it and then rest in the saving work of our Savior, Jesus Christ.



Reflection Points:


What extra baggage have you added to your walk with Christ?


What are you trying to accomplish?


If God tested your works, what would He say your motives are?


Where did your walk begin – by faith alone in Christ, or by your own works?



Power Verses:


Titus 3:5,6, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (NKJ)


John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He hath believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (NKJ)


Romans 10:9, “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him form the dead, thou shall be saved.” (NKJ)


2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (NKJ)



Additional Resources:


Do You Know Him?



Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



The Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt



Originally published Monday, 06 June 2005.