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True Faith vs. Fake Faith
By David A. DePra
It is certain that all Christians – without conscious intent – practice FAKE FAITH to some extent. What do I mean by, "fake faith?" I mean that we take a position of belief when we really don’t believe. Or, to put it another way, we give God the faith we think He requires so that He will do what we want – or so that He will do what we think He ought to do. FAKE FAITH is really the result of not seeing the Truth – but of acting as if you do.
We must remember three things about FAITH – and I’m talking about real faith; the faith described in the Bible. First of all, faith is a RELATIONSHIP word. It is not a FORCE you generate – as is wrongly taught by the Word of Faith crowd, such as heretic Kenneth Copeland. No. Everything about faith is relationship. Thus, faith is not a mind set, an emotional condition, or a mood. I cannot believe with my emotions. Neither is faith created by us by positively confessing anything. No. Faith is a relationship word. It is simply trust, reliance, and dependence upon God Himself.
Secondly, faith is reliance upon God to do HIS WILL unto HIS GLORY. In fact, it is impossible for you and I to have true faith in anything that is outside of the Truth. Or, to put it another way, I cannot have the faith of Jesus Christ, or faith in Jesus Christ, for anything except what Jesus Christ has faith for. In short, you and I cannot generate faith from out of ourselves up to God in order to get Him moving. Rather, God must reveal to us HIS will, and once we embrace Him, faith will be there. Thus, faith, rather than move God on our behalf, is really a matter of God moving and transforming us in accordance with Himself.
What we see here is that instead of seeing faith, we need to seek God Himself. Instead of seeking THINGS from God, seek God Himself. The fact is, through His Spirit God will always bring us back to this. Faith is not a THING God gives as much as it is a FRUIT of abiding in Christ. God does give us enough faith to turn to Him because He gives us enough revelation to turn to Him. But from that point, faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual fruits are the outcome of the growth process in the Vine – fruits are not separate THINGS that we acquire. Fruits are all found in Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, and this is closely related to the second point, faith is the outcome of seeing and embracing the Truth that God reveals to you personally. Instead of TRYING TO HAVE FAITH, or instead of asking God for more faith, ask God to reveal to you Himself – and the Truth as it pertains to your situation. If you are willing to see and surrender to the Truth, God can reveal it – on any specific matter. Then once you embrace that Truth, you will believe. Faith is the outcome of God taking initiative to reveal Himself, and then us hearing or embracing Him. "Faith COMES by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17)
Seeing Jesus Christ and the Truth will always result in a discernment of His will in any situation. Have we recognized that when we ask God to reveal to us His will in any matter, that we are really asking Him to reveal to us the TRUTH about Himself, and about that specific matter? Faith is always based on the Truth. It is never separate. That is why faith is a rest and certainty. And it is why it is always for God’s will and never for anything else. That is why faith is a relationship word. Faith is first in GOD HIMSELF, and God is the Truth; God is light.
Knowing the Truth about faith will set us free from FAKE FAITH. You will note this term – "fake faith" – this is nothing more than UNTRUE faith. UNTRUE faith is not real, and it is not based on seeing the Truth. UNTRUE or fake faith is merely a façade – it is a religious position we take before the Lord usually because we think He demands it. It is what we do to achieve our desired end.
Fake or True
As mentioned, I don’t think most people get up in the morning and say, "Today I will practice fake faith." No. Usually we think our fake faith is real faith – our fake faith is probably all that we presently know. But you can be sure about two things with regards to fake faith. First of all, God isn’t going to honor it. And secondly, because TRUE FAITH is always the outcome of a testing and proving process, if we want to walk with Christ, all fake faith will be exposed for what it is. It cannot survive God’s proving.
When God puts us in a trial of our faith, it is not to prove to HIM whether we have real faith. No. He already has those answers. Rather, it is to expose to US the Truth about our relationship with God – unto the end that we might be established in the Truth. Fundamental to this trial of faith is that all fake faith will be exposed for what it is, and we will be shown the Truth, resulting in TRUE FAITH. Or, to go back to the idea of relationship, a trial of faith will expose the lies about our relationship with God, and will be God’s tool to guide us into all Truth.
The idea that we can walk in darkness and in great error – and yet exercise great faith -- is nonsense. The fact that God is so merciful to bless us, or go along with us, despite our errors, is a tribute to His grace, but not an affirmation of our error. In the final analysis, if we are walking in darkness we simply cannot believe – because faith is always centered in the Truth; in the light.
I John 1 states it clearly: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:6-7) Fellowship with God is in HIS LIGHT – because God Himself IS Light. There is NO fellowship with God in areas of darkness. Thus, to say that we can walk in darkness and believe the Truth at the same time is contradictory.
Fake faith is often the result of walking in darkness and trying to drag God along with us, "by faith." We don’t know God or the Truth but we know we need to have faith and so we try to, "have faith," "generate faith," "feel like we have faith," or we, "take the position of faith." In reality, there is no, "position of faith," to take. There is only the Truth. We either know or believe it or we don’t. If we do – then our faith is TRUE. IF we don’t, then our faith is fake.
TRUE faith is the outcome of seeing and embracing the Truth. FAKE faith is the outcome of lacking the Truth – and so we fill in the blanks with some aspect of our soul life, such as emotions.
It is not possible to overemphasize that TRUE FAITH is a relationship that is the outcome of seeing God Himself. I say this because it is so easy to get side tracked into thinking that faith is THING, or a FORCE, or a STATE OF MIND. We think that if we can somehow achieve these conditions that we can drag out of God our request. This is error.
Most people, without even realizing it, actually base their faith upon their emotions – or upon some aspect of THEMSELVES. Some of us even have faith in our supposed ability to believe. This is an amazing deception. For example, I have found myself, "monitoring," myself, "to see whether I am believing." If I am, "believing," then I feel more certain that God is with me. If my monitor says I am, "not believing," then I go to pieces. But this is all a deception. It puts my faith, not in God, but in my own ability to believe – and really, upon my ability to rightly, "monitor," my supposed faith. If you really get to the basis of this deception, it is nothing more than a religious routine that is going on completely within myself. It has little to do with God. It is not a relationship with God. It is me trying to maintain or generate what I think is faith. It is not me standing in the light before the Lord. Rather, it is me trying to create what I think pleases God, and then once I do, I approach Him and present my faith to Him.
Faith is never in anything about myself – it is not even a confidence that I can generate faith. Faith is a fruit that is produced IN ME because of my abiding in Christ.
Now note: True faith is the spiritual fruit – produced in my being – due to my embracing the Truth in Jesus Christ. It is not OF ME – it is produced IN ME because of my relationship with Christ. In contrast, fake faith is OF ME. It is produced IN ME by ME in order to artificially construct what I think is a right relationship with Christ.
We might say this another way: True faith is the substance and evidence of the Truth that God reveals in me – as the result of seeing and yielding to Jesus Christ. Fake faith is not from God at all. It is self created and generated. It is not substance and evidence of Truth – but of natural man’s religion.
True faith is really my reaction or response to God Himself -- back to Him. This is relationship. That is a bit of a mechanical description, but it is valid. I cannot gather up the materials found in myself and generate faith up to God. Rather, God reveals Himself to me, and if I receive and embrace that light, faith will result – I will believe because I will see the Truth and know it is the Truth.
The key here is not to find some secret key as to how to HAVE FAITH. No. The key here is to SEE and KNOW Jesus Christ. It is simply NOT possible to see and know Jesus and then lack faith. But in contrast, it is not possible to have great faith if you don’t see and know Christ. Our faith is based in HIM – in the Person.
Another mistake we often make is to separate THINGS we want from God from God Himself. We try to HAVE FAITH for this or that – thinking that if we can muster it up then God will give it to us. No. God is not making things up as He goes along. He is not up in heaven waiting for us to generate the faith necessary for anything. Rather, something is either the will of God or it is not. Something is either the Truth or it is not. Nothing we do or believe will change whether something is God’s will or the Truth. Thus, the necessity is for God to reveal to us the Truth – not for us to create, change, or manipulate the Truth by generating some sort of FAKE FAITH.
If you want to know the Truth about something – if you want the will of God in some particular matter – you will likely never see it come to pass unless you come to know God Himself. God has wrapped up all things in His Son. He won’t usually give us THINGS to the disregard of revealing to us Christ.
This is why God is often silent to us. It is why it sometimes seems like He won’t answer prayers. We may be asking God for things, or for information. God has said that these things and information are hidden in Christ. Get a revelation of Christ and you will see and know and receive all the things and information God desires you to have. It works this way more often than not.
But why? Because it is an unalterable fact that a person cannot function in a relationship with God without a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Indeed, our entire relationship with God is BASED on the knowledge of His Son. This, again, is a matter of light vs. darkness. Well, if God handed out things and information to the disregard of His Son, we would settle for them. We would have THINGS, but in relative darkness to His Son. We would never come to know Christ – indeed, we would not even KNOW to go farther. This would be contrary to God’s purpose.
Only if we are rightly related to Christ by faith can we be rightly related to ALL ELSE. In contrast, if we are not rightly related to Christ by faith, everything else will suffer. The key is therefore to SEEK FIRST GOD HIMSELF. And if we do, all else will fall into place. If we see the Truth about God, we will discern all else in the light of knowing Him. If we embrace the Truth about God, the outcome will be a true faith that cannot be moved.
God knows we all have fake faith in many matters. We have our will, instead of His, and often cannot tell the difference. That is why Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would guide us into all Truth. We need help.
Now, of course, if you think that the Truth into which the Spirit will guide us is merely Biblical doctrine, you will never understand any of this. Certainly nothing the Spirit of God does will depart from Bible doctrine. But THE TRUTH is not academic Truth. It is really the Truth about everything – as to its relatedness to God. Thus, if you want to be guided into all Truth, you can expect the Truth to be exposed about your personal faith.
If you ask God to show you the Truth, you are asking Him to show you Jesus Christ. But as He does, then everything that is contrary to Christ – everything that is UNTRUE to God – must be revealed as such. If there is one thing that is certain it is that TRUTH will always expose that which is UNTRUE. And personally, all of our fake faith must be exposed.
Can we see that this primary to the promise that the Truth will set us free? What could be a greater freedom than to have our untrue faith exposed so that we can walk with God in a real and true faith? If God can get me to the place where I see the Truth in Christ and actually believe and walk with Him in TRUE FAITH – isn’t this what the Christian life is all about? It is about little else.
The Bible says that faith is our victory. It says that without faith it is impossible to please God. It says that faith is the evidence and substance IN US of the real. It says that we walk by faith. It says that faith is our relationship with God. Do we want TRUE FAITH or will we settle for some sort of deluded FAKE faith?
The good news is that no matter where we are in our faith, God is ALWAYS seeking to bring us into the Truth – central to which will be a TRUE FAITH. The purpose of the Spirit of God is to reveal Jesus Christ TO us, IN us, and THROUGH us. This cannot happen except to the extent that the true faith of Jesus Christ abide as the fruit.
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