Friday, May 10, 2013

Counterfeit Faithulness

I thought jackfruit, or nangka, as it is known in Indonesia, is quite appropriate to represent counterfeit faithfulness. Read on to find out why. I'll put a few pictures of this fruit into this post...just because they are so interesting. 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23)

I must admit had a bit of a difficult time identifying the counterfeit of faithfulness. I looked at a number of different verses that used the word. Actually, the Greek word used in Galatians, is translated in a two ways: faith…and faithfulness.

"Real Deal" Faithfulness

There was a long string of definitions for this word, too. Most of them had to do with faith that is directed toward God.

That long string of definitions also referred to the word we translate as faithfulness. Faithfulness has to do with the one who inspires faith. When we talk about the faithfulness of God, we speak of an aspect of His character. This is the portion of the definition that applies here.

"the character of one who can be relied on"

Just so you know, I enjoy jackfruit in all of its forms: cooked as a vegetable, raw as a fruit, even the seeds when cooked are delicious.

We can have faith in God because He is faithful. As God’s children, the Holy Spirit wants to grow this same character in us. He wants us to grow into people who can be relied on. When we say we will do something, people can count on us to do it, and not leave them in the lurch. When we say we will pray for someone, we can be relied on to follow through.

What Could We Call Counterfeit Faithfulness?

Good stuff, right? Sure. So what is the slick counterfeit of faithfulness that often is accepted as a substitute for “real deal” faithfulness?

Honestly, I am struggling to find a single word or phrase to describe this counterfeit. Although I am having a hard time naming it, I can recognize it when I see it. To tell the truth, I fall for this counterfeit far too often, and only realize it after the fact..

So, what is it? What does this counterfeit look like in action?

We know we are being taken in by this counterfeit when:
As you can see, jackfruit is far too massive for one person to consume on their own. Counterfeit faithfulness can have us trying to take on far too much on our own than God ever intended.

  • We pretty much automatically say “yes” to a task because we feel we have to say "yes", even though we might have neither the time, nor the skill to do it.
  • We find ourselves worn, ragged, and burnt out because all the many things stacked on our plate are proving to be too much. In the end, some of those things stacked on our plates start to fall off. We cannot faithfully complete them.
  • Even though we’d probably never say it aloud, we find ourselves feeling a bit of pride rising in us when others commend us for always being able to count on us to get things done. (Let’s be clear here. Getting things done is not the problem. It is the pride that signals the counterfeit.)
Hmmm…After reading that description, I might have come up with a name for the counterfeit. I’m not going to give it to you yet. What word would you use to name this imposter?

Don't Settle for Less Than the "Real Deal"

You see, “real deal” faithfulness is intimately related to faith in God. When we are in right relationship to Him, and listening to Him, we will say “yes” to the things He wants us to say “yes” to. This means we will also say “no” to the things that are outside His plan.

When we say “yes” only to things within His plan, we can certainly be faithful to carry them to completion.

The counterfeit leaves us overburdened, overworked, exhausted…and perhaps feeling like a martyr. Eventually, the counterfeit will lead us to failure.

The “real deal” fruit of faithfulness that grows out of intimate relationship to the Faithful One will not disappoint.Such a faithful person can be relied on.

Philippians 1:6 says, “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) 

Is there too much on your plate?
Are you trying to "eat the whole jackfruit"?
Real jackfruit is delicious.
Counterfeit faithfulness most certainly is not.

God is the Faithful One. He will be faithful to finish and bring to perfection what He has started in us.

The Holy Spirit is faithful to cultivate in us the “real deal” fruit of faithfulness. Let’s not settle for less than the "real deal".

Time for Reflection
  • What things that are currently “on your plate” are there because God wants them there?
  • What things that are currently “on your plate” are there because you felt you had to say “yes”.
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the pile on your plate? If so, you might want to spend some time asking God which of those things need to be released so you can focus on what God truly has for you to do.
  • What name would you suggest for this counterfeit? Why not share your thoughts in a comment below?

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