Have you ever been given this advice–fake it till you make it? Or have the words been unspoken, though the pressure just as real? On some level this problem runs rampant throughout Christianty, but my up close and personal experience, including my own forays into it, have been in the Independent Baptist world.
You do know what I am talking about, don’t you? This necessity that I appear to have it ALL together? To be human must not be admitted. The admission that my sanctification is not complete must never happen.
We have been led to believe that all good Christians have continually awesome Bible reading, an incredible prayer life, no personal struggles with any particular sin, and unbroken victory and joy. Then we are asked to believe that all the Christians around us (at least in the key group) are those type of good Christians. Finally we are told that for God to be happy with us we must be in that group. Since the first evidence that this is not true in us will mean our expulsion from the group, we figure we simply must fake it and hope we can spiritually catch up later.
The disaster of this approach is shown in the severity of the consequence–you don’t make it. You grow ever more the mere husk of a vibrant Christian. And ever more the fake! Appearances require all we have and there is nothing left for real growth.
The problem is that this approach is the very anthesis of Christianity. You have never had, and never will have, what it takes to make yourself a trophy Christian. If you could please God and man, why did you need Jesus the Savior in the first place? Your connection to real Christianity happened the very moment you realized you could never make it. Faking it now is a denial of Christ Himself. He never liked fake. It was when you were real about yourself that He got involved.
So you must be real. You must feel free to admit that what you want to be is not quite what you are. God’s workings on you are still very much in progress. Here is another secret. If you are real, Christ is there to help you go forward. You will actually get closer to what you want to be. Faking would never bring that to pass.
One more warning–don’t let the fakes make a fake out of you. They are not what they say. The feelings of inferiority that they pour on you are a farce. They hold up an insincere benchmark. And if you could ever get exactly what they have, you would have absolutely nothing. I started out there and so see no reason to fake my way to the same place. So the real advice is–cast yourself on Christ and make it when you make it. Leave the faking to the fakes.
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19 thoughts on “Fake It Till You Make It (IBTR #41)”
Isaiah: Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men
Jesus: for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Amen! Scripture is clear on this subject!
I first discovered this expression on your site, but since then, I have heard the guys on MythBusters use the expression, saying it is a saying from the special effects industry in Hollywood. In other words, it comes from the world of fiction, where they try to convince the viewer that the fake action they are seeing is real… If (and I think it is) that is the case, then those who have taken that expression from the creative effects world of Hollywood and applied it to our walk with Christ most certainly failed to understand the original meaning–or they knew it, but hid it from their followers, and know that they are faking it, and that the only area where they are “making it” is in fooling others (and likely themselves). But the key from this expression is that it is all fake from start to finish, and there was nothing real at any point in the process… Thinking about it that way, how many of these professors are simply faking their own conversion (but not necessarily being aware of it)? Scary thought…
I think there are a lot of deceived preachers out there who genuinely think that if you DO it you will BECOME it. I’ve heard it more times than I can count. And I really never got the impression that they were trying to control me in some way, but that they sincerely believed that people are supposed to live by “disciplines” that you work to perfect, and thereby attain godliness. I think we can agree this is fundamentally flawed. I’m not against discipline. In fact, it is a Biblical quality, along with self-control and patience, all being traits of restraint against worldliness. And this is a good thing. However, we have turned it into something other than what the Bible teaches. We turn it into a list of do’s and dont’s that we made up ourselves, and attribute spiritual elitism to those who follow more closely to those man-made systems. I really think the big problem here is man-made religion which replaces true, Biblical holiness. And this man-made religion is precisely what turns off so many people to the Gospel. We criticize the Mormons for having their own book in addition to the Bible that they reference far more than the actual Bible in regards to daily living and doctrine, but we ourselves have the exact same problem, however ours is not neatly written in a singular book that we call God’s Word. But in practice, we treat our own additions as God’s Word. But we are no different.
Well said! Discipline is only good as an aid and can never replace a walk with God.
Yes! Well said, Mr. Cochran. I really appreciate that you distinguish between using disciplines as a means of restraint or self-control rather than as a man-made list of do’s and don’t’s that somehow leads to spiritual elitism.
Pastor Reagan, I also really appreciate your post, because I, too, have heard the phrase. It also reminds me of how Christians, especially young people after hearing a motivational message, proclaim they will essentially “do good and try harder”. I appreciate their hearts, and although I would not suggest and do not like taking grace for granted, I am learning what it means to “rest in grace”. Doing good and trying harder to become better Christians is a man-made burden. Following Jesus and looking to Him for mercy and grace, trusting in His love, and submitting to His work in us lightens the load. It’s all about Jesus!
Yes, it is all about Jesus is the key!
I have heard it for a while. I have even heard it as real advice before. It is scary just as you say!
RAnks up there with “God will never give you more than you can handle” as stupid things Christians say that tick me off!
Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
I love this post but it needs at least two qualifying statements, just because we humans tend to run to extremes and to always take statements too far to the left, then too far to the right.
1) First of all, there is a statement that keeps showing up on various pages around the Internet that goes ” . . . Well, at least I am not fake.”
This statement implies that the author, alone, of all the people she knows is a real person and everyone else is a fake. That is terribly, terribly presumptuous.
I prefer the Internet meme that starts, “Everyone you know is fighting an invisible battle on some front . . .” I love it because, in my experience, it is true of everyone I know.
So what does it profit us to imply that every other person, battling things in her life we can’t see, is a fake while only our own personal battles are real?
As a mom who has faced breast cancer and who has a child with high-functioning autism, I don’t find it particularly edifying to be called a fake, especially when I may have used my entire day’s supply of energy to come to church with ironed clothes and makeup on. I realize I am acceptable to God without those things but . . . sometimes I just work so hard to have some semblance of normalcy. And to be called fake for not bleeding all over my local church body every time I enter the door appears to be a cruel misjudgment of me. Life is not always so bleak, but when it is, I sometimes just want to dress up and appear normal for an hour. That is not too much to ask, is it?
2) The other part is that I *do believe in “fake it till you make it” when it is in regard to a person who seems to be a “prickly person.” In that case, I have learned to be very real with God and to admit that the person seems prickly and that I cannot, in my flesh, love that person. I make it about me and my lack of love, not about that person and her qualities. And, while I struggle in prayer to learn to love that person, I do believe in *acting lovingly toward her, knowing that God always, always answers the prayer that asks for help loving someone we can’t love naturally.
I believe, in that case, being “real” and admitting to that person that we can’t love her would not solve anything, even if we admitted that the issue was on our own side of things. Better to respond in a loving way, trusting God to give us that “warm, fuzzy feeling” later on.
In fact, isn’t that what love is, doing what is in someone else’s best interests? The warm fuzzy feeling is great, but not necessarily where we start . . .
Oh dear sister in Christ, neither of those things fit the ‘fake it till you make it’ cliché. Your response reveals a genuine heart of love… for God and others. It’s the heart that counts.
Thanks for saying that Rene. I tried a couple times to put what you just said into words, but I just got long-winded, and couldn’t figure out the words to say it. You said it perfectly. She is nowhere near the cliche. 🙂
Aww, thank you.
I appreciate both of you and your good comments.
Just heard a song today called Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns. I am new to that type of music so I think it is an older song, but it goes right along with this blog topic.
I have heard this preached before. The idea is that if you do not feel like serving God, then just do it anyway and eventually you will feel like it. Of course there is all the opposite preaching about how people who do things in their own power burn out and leave church. I am sure it leaves people confused as to what they should do.
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