For every fake Louis or Gucci item out in the market, there is a genuine design worth so much more. The fake is always a distortion from the original, a sad replica of something so precious and valuable. The reason why there are fakes is because someone is trying to copy the real deal, someone wants to look like something they are not, someone wants to cheat. Those of us women who love our real designer purses know that you have to know where to go to find the originals, we can tell you the difference between a fake and the genuine article. When we identify a real LV, we are willing to pay generously for it. Because we pay so much for it, we will care for it and it becomes something that stays in the family for long and provides us great satisfaction.
Ladies I know some of us are already at the designer mall in our minds looking for that perfect hand bag but slow down a minute. I am taking you today to a different kind of mall, in the open market square of spiritual leadership, a mall with all kinds of Pastors, Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles and Teachers. This mall was designed to carry only the best but it has been corrupted, copycats have infiltrated the market with cheap alternatives and now we struggle to tell the difference between the real and the fake. Because of this, some buyers have totally given up on buying designer goods for fear that they may be swindled into paying a hefty price for substandard stuff. Yes, some have stepped out in faith giving their all in search of God and ended up being taken for a ride by someone claiming to represent Jehovah!
If you are one of those who sees all men of God as charlatans, gold diggers, abusers, fakes, know that for there to be fake pastors, there must be real genuine pastors. Do not give up on God! There are some true ministers of God out there that the fakes are trying to pose as. Do not classify all Pentecostal pastors or Catholic priests as fake because a pastor disappointed you in one way or because a priest molested a child you know. What you need to do is learn to discern between the real and the fake. Here are some pointers:
Make the Bible your guide. You can only do this by getting into the word of God deeply. The Bible will show you the difference. Do not depend on your pastor for the word. If you don’t know your Bible, you are more likely to obey a request from a fake minister trying to take advantage of you.
Your pastor is not your God, do not worship him, do not follow him blindly, do not put him on a false pedestal because he is human. If you expect perfection from your pastor or spiritual leader, you will definitely be disappointed and the devil will use that opportunity to turn you away from God.
Recognize that simply because a servant of God makes an error does not make them fake. Everyone must learn by going through a season of training. Some men of God you may have encountered are still learning and growing in understanding and in their calling. There are things you did in the early years of your profession which you will not do that way today. You may encounter a proud pastor who turns you off but in 5 years time after God has broken them, they will be more humble and welcoming to you. If your pastor has a genuine weakness you identify, intercede in prayer for them.
Our differences in how we serve God does not mean that the pastor or church is fake. In many ways the Bible is prescriptive but in other ways God allows us flexibility in how we serve Him. Again as you study the word for yourself, you will know what Biblical teachings we cannot compromise on. Paul says in Gal 1:8 if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
Our worship service can be an hour while your pastor preached for 3 hours, that is ok but if your pastor teaches you to sleep with him to get an anointing for marriage, then you know that is against the word of God and this pastor is a fake.
Measure everything against the word of God. Don’t just do things because you pastor said. Be like the Bereans who verified whether Paul’s teachings were Biblical Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Get to know God for yourself. In addition to reading the word, let the Holy Spirit be your friend and guide. Test every spirit. 1 John 4:1 do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
When you encounter those genuine men and women of God (yes there are many), honor and support them, uphold them in prayer because they go before God on your behalf and their calling is not easy. Heb 13:17 …for they are keeping watch over your souls. Uphold them morally and emotionally when they fall because they are human with imperfections just like you. Be generous financially in blessing them as they make so many sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom of God. I Timothy 5:18 You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages. Such will be a tremendous blessing in your life. Never give up on God because of a human being’s actions. Reject the fake pastors being used by the devil to corrupt the body of Christ. Remember that even when a true servant falls, our God is still God and worthy of our praise!