Jesus called all kinds of people to follow him, from fisherman to tax collectors, to doctors. Today too, He calls the ordinary folk from every walk of life and he simply says “follow me”. All we have to do is respond. But there were also those people in Jesus day that Jesus was highly critical of, and they were the overly-religious zealots of the day. He had an issue with them, not because they were zealous, but because they were fake. They made out as if they loved God above all else, as per the Torah instruction, but their hearts were far off. The loved the appearance of holiness more than the reality of living holy lives, and it made Jesus see red!
At the heart of the above question is this: what is a real Christian? If we know what the real deal is then we can spot a fake a mile away. However if we don’t know what to look for, then how will we spot a counterfeit? Let me also state here and now that I don’t for a minute believe that people set out to be fake. So if they are not trying to be fake, how can we call them fake? The answer lies in the same region as when Jesus called the Pharisees white-washed tombstones. They looked wonderful on the outside, but inside they were full of dead men’s bones.
God is not impressed by the same things that men are impressed by. We look at the outside – at appearances. God looks at the heart and the motives and the intentions. I would like therefore to define for this entire study a fake Christian as
“someone who appears to do and say everything right, but inside they are far away from God”.
The primary commandment that we got from both Jesus and the Ten Commandments is
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.
So I would like to say that a real Christian does that: they love God. It is hard to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, but the key is in loving God. Jesus said this: If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
The first way you can spot a fake is that the person fails in this basic and primary command. They just don’t love God. How will we know? Jesus said by their fruit you will know them. (Matthew 7:16-20). When you love God, you will love the things of God. We will not always be excellent in those things, as we are waging war against the devil, but we will deep down have a sincere love for God, that exceeds the need to please people.
Let me ask the question of you that Jesus asked of Simon Peter:
Do you love me?