Psalm 51:16 – “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts.”
It seems like every name-brand product out there has a knock-off version that tries to look like it and perform like it. Some can come very close to looking like the real deal and if we’re not very familiar with the original, they can sometimes fool us. Knock-offs have the appearance of the original item and offer the promise of being or doing the same thing but never quite live up to the standard of the original. The saying “the devil is in the details” couldn’t be any truer when it comes to recognizing knock-offs. This is especially true when it comes to recognizing a knock-off of God’s love. Without a doubt God is love, he’s the real deal, but is all love God’s love? Many today seem to think so, but have unfortunately been fooled by a knock-off version; one in which the details don’t quite measure up to the real deal.
John Bevere (Drawing Near) touches on a very relevant issue in the church today when he asks, “Have we created a knock-off Jesus?” The Apostle Paul was concerned about this very thing in his letter to the Corinthian church in saying, “If someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” The Corinthian believers were in danger of settling for a knock-off version of Jesus and were easily putting up with it – many today are as well. Bevere wisely points out that the body of believers was easily misled, not by a false god or religion that denied Jesus’s existence, but by their belief in a different Jesus. The same holds true concerning God’s love today. People aren’t denying that God is love, but are accepting a different love than God’s love.
All knock-offs have something about them that gives them away; so does a knock-off of God’s love. A product must be in complete keeping with the original design for it to be authentic. John Bevere (A Heart Ablaze) writes, “Kindness, sympathy, tenderness, and patience can all have the appearance of being godly love, but if these virtues are outside of the truth, it is a counterfeit love.” The absence of truth is what gives knock-off love away. Whenever love is not balanced with the truth of God’s word, it creates a knock-off love. As a knock-off love void of truth is increasing today the true love of God, demonstrated by walking in the truth of his word, is decreasing. When meeting opposition of the truth by the Galatian believers Paul asked, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?” The answer to that question unfortunately is yes. Speaking the truth will make you an enemy of those who reject it. Oswald Chambers (My Utmost For His Highest) writes, “The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal unholiness.” Jesus said of his disciples, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.” In being “not of the world” we will always face opposition and risk creating resentment when speaking the truth of God’s word, but that should never keep us from speaking it. As Paul said, “Do I now persuade men or God?” Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Christian speaker Tod White gets straight to the heart of what leads to a person rejecting the truth and creating a knock-off version of God’s love. He states, “When you start disobeying your convictions more than you obey them the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit will get quieter and the enemy’s voice will get louder …. Then you’ll start justifying your behavior and call it grace.” Which in turn will lead you to justify ungodly behavior and call it God’s love. Any love that enables or encourages someone to remain in bondage to sin is not God’s love, it’s a knock-off love. Oswald Chambers wisely cautions, “Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or for others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God.” James 5:19-20 tells us, “If anyone wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” Love is not only evidenced in kindness, sympathy, tenderness or patience, but in truth spoken in love. And truth must be spoken in love, because if love is not in it, God is not in it.
We can fulfill the description of love by being kind, patient, sympathetic and tender, but if we leave out truth we are leaving out a very important feature of God’s love. Those who value the quality of the authentic product know the real deal when they see it and won’t settle for a knock-off version. Most authentic products are going to cost us more than the knock-off version. God’s word tells us all who would live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. That’s the price of possessing the authentic love of God. It’s going to cost you more than the knock-off version but as I’ve come to learn, the real deal will always prove to be superior to the cheap knock-off brand. There are a lot of knock-offs out there today that will fool us if we’re not careful. Don’t let God’s love be one of them. We need to intimately know every detail of the authentic product if we don’t want to get fooled by the knock-off. The devil really is in the details.
(Malachi 2:17 – Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, everyone that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delighted in them; or where is the God of judgment?).
I went to the store one day to buy my favorite treat
unfortunately they were all out but I wanted something sweet
I saw another product that looked to be the same
and so I settled for it hoping my sweet tooth to tame
I anxiously looked forward to taking my first bite
But right away I knew that something wasn’t right
And then I read the ingredients of the two to compare
But there was one essential ingredient that simply was not there
The absence of this one ingredient completely changed the taste
Making the whole product a disappointing waste
And then I heard the Lord quietly to me say,
The devil is in the details child of how the product is made
You will never satisfy your sweet tooth with an inferior substitute
nor can you have my love if you leave out the truth