Knock-off fashion is a serious problem for the real designers—the minds that produce the intellectual product from which the designs originate. Cheap knock-offs can be found in clothing, accessories, shoes, and watches, just about everything that bears a high-end designer label has been copied and marketed. Sometimes the knock-off is apparent, but some are made with the intent of deceiving the buyer. Just as counterfeit fashion exists, so do counterfeit Christians. When we repent and accept salvation through faith in Jesus, we are to clothe ourselves with Christ. As symbolized through the act of baptism, God buries our old self, our old ways, our old life, and raises us to a new life in Christ Jesus. We are to be models displaying the character of Christ. Knock-off Christians claim their designer label is authentic, but their fashion doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

Scriptures
1 Ch 21:24; Ga 3:26-27; Mt 6:19-20, 7:21, 10:32-33, Mk 1:2-3, 4, 15; Lk 18:14; Ac 2:38; Ro 12:2, Re 3:15-17, 20

Verses
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15) So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Ga 3:26-27) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. Simply calling Me ‘Lord’ will not be enough. Only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven will join Me in heaven.” (Mt 7:21) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Re 3:15-20)

Thought
Jesus called those who claim faith but don’t live it “lukewarm.” These imposters are pretty easy to spot because they claim to be Christians but don’t look much different from the rest of the world. Their clothing, morals, focus, entertainment and parenting style falls in line with popular culture. They claim the faith, but their faith has little claim on the way they live their lives. Knock-off Christians often crave acceptance from people more than from God. Pretenders don’t want to cause waves or offend anyone by sharing their faith because in reality they aren’t convinced that Jesus is the only way. Imitation Christians alleviate guilt by coming to church now and then, saying a prayer once in a while and serving or giving occasionally. Faux Christians are materialistic and live as though this world is all that really matters. They focus on the now instead of on eternity. Mock Christians gauge their morality by comparing themselves with others, rather than looking at God’s standards. Copycat Christians get very religious when they are in a bind—when they have a crisis, illness or financial difficulties. They use God like a tool that’s used only as needed. A counterfeit Christian only gives to God’s work when they have a little extra money and it doesn’t affect anything else they might want to do. In theory they know you can’t take it with you, but they assume others can give and they are okay keeping their money for themselves. Phony Christians want the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice, the eternal life and all the good stuff, but they don’t want to change. They don’t want to conform to Christ. The saddest thing about these knock-off models is that often they don’t realize they are fakes. Jesus said that he will acknowledge to his Father those who acknowledge him. (Mt 10:32-33) Christians, you must wear Christ 24/7!

Questions
Are you ever ashamed of Jesus? Do you cover up His label/His name when a situation arises where He might not be accepted apparel? Are you afraid that sporting your Christian label will be offensive? Have you been excluded from events or invitations because of your faith? How do you feel about pretenders? How would Jesus have you deal with pretenders? Why? What do you think Jesus would have you do? Why? Would your family and/or friends say you are genuine or fake?

Response
Make a regular practice of self-examination. Consider your interaction with others and be aware of how your actions, words and responses reflect the image and character of Christ.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, I often fail in doing the right thing, the Godly thing. Forgive me of my sins and help me to be a model of your love and grace to those around me. May I always be aware that I represent You everyday, in every way, and everywhere. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.