Counterfeiting is alive and well in America and across the world. The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), an organization dedicated to fighting counterfeiting and safeguarding intellectual property, reports that the Department of Homeland Security confiscated counterfeit goods worth more than $1.7 billion at our borders in Fiscal Year 2013. The coalition also reports that counterfeiting is a major problem worldwide.¹ When I think of counterfeiting, I immediately think of money; but all sorts of goods are also counterfeited including car parts, handbags, watches, and jewelry. I wonder if 3D printing technology will open up a whole new world for counterfeiters. If so, the government and the IACC are going to be quite busy.
Being aware that there are fakes out there can go a long way in protecting us from being taken. This is true not only for consumer products but also for matters of faith. We need to look out for counterfeit Christianity. False teachings have been around since the beginning of the church (Titus 1:10-11), and still exist today. These teachings do not represent the truth of the gospel. They are imitations. They have the appearance of Christianity but do not hold up to the word of God. Sometimes it’s obvious when a teaching is counterfeit, but other times it isn’t. There are some good imitations out there that fool many people. Because of this, we need to be equipped to spot the fakes.
One of the best ways to be able to spot a fake is to know the real thing very well. Reading and studying the real thing, the Bible, will equip us to test what we are reading and hearing from others. When we know real Christianity and the true teachings of the scriptures, our discernment improves.
I would like to share a story that drove this point home for me. It is about a jeweler who was famous for his ability to always correctly determine whether a gem was real or fake. One day someone asked him how he always got it right. He replied, “When you spend a lot of time with the real thing, it is easy to spot the fake.” This story had a big impact on me. I can’t remember if I heard it in the context of knowing the Bible, but I applied it to that. It made sense to me that if I spent a lot of time in the Bible, I would be a lot better equipped to recognize false teachings. The thought of being duped by false teachings bothered me. I deeply desired to know and then defend the truth about God.
I made up my mind to be like that jeweler and spend a lot of time with the real thing. The jeweler spent a lot of his time working with genuine and beautiful created objects. He came to know them very well. But as precious and desirable as they may have been, their value pales in comparison to knowing the Creator and his word.
God’s word is a precious gift. It is our standard for truth. By it, all teachings stand or fall. The more time we spend in the Bible, the better equipped we are to test teachings and to detect false ones. I believe this happens because of our own reasoning abilities as we compare teachings to the Bible and because of guidance from the Holy Spirit.
I encourage you to be in the word often. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. (Colossians 3:16) Constantly seek to expand the foundation of the God’s word in your heart. With the word of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can identify the counterfeits. Let’s know the real thing very well!
About Counterfeiting; International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition