Chapter 5 in Surfing for God is about a tough, deep internal look. Exposing the Counterfeits begins with this quote from Dr. Ekie Kikule, "Jesus only comes to us in our realities, not in our illusions."
In our lives we are all seduced into buying bargains that aren't really bargains. At one time or another we give our hearts to people, places or things that can't deliver what they promise. And the person who sold it to us knew it.
The counterfeit isn't always a bad thing. We all long for a feeling of being centered. Michael says, " When we are truly centered, we know a deep sense of of well-being, joy, and peace. In my experience, however, many people talk about the centered life than live it. The reason for this is counterfeit good."
We tend to use stuff like out favorite coffee, food, enjoyable activities etc. to distract us from our feelings of stress and inadequacy. They provide a sense of the centered life, but are not actually the centered life. We take them and exhale 'life is goood.'
Every gift from our Designer has a corresponding gift from the deceiver--a "shadow" gift. And you can bet your three hundred ringgits (the amount Michael paid for a counterfeit watch) that every deceiver gift is a counterfeit. Satan cannont create anything; he can only take what has been created and twist it against its design. So, we are tempted to overindulge the Designer's gift of food. We might make a god out of alcohol--turning to it addictively to meet all sorts of inner needs--or maybe we make a god out of not drinking alcohol. We are deceived into believing that deceiver gifts will actually make us flourish.
He goes on,
Jonah warned us that we cannot keep both the counterfeit and the real at the same time. We must choose, "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Counterfeit worship renders us unable to receive God's good gifts. When the Israelites were fleeing from slabery toward true freedom in the promised land, they got fed up with God and his provision of manna, and threatened to return to the gods of Egypt--where they could enjoy leeks and onions...while living in bondage. Embracing the counterfeit meant forfeiting the real.
That's what porn and lust do to us. They tell us we're not going to receive God's provision, that we'll never be satisfied with His manna, so we're better off on our own. But the intimacy we experience in those illicit moments is a counterfeit intimacy. It makes us feel like men without requiring us to be men--until we wake up one day with a cheap imitation of intimacy in our top drawer.
We begin our journey from slavery to freedom when we expose the counterfeits at the root of our brokenness and admit our thirst for the real thing. It involves shifting our focus from the external objects of temptation (i.e. women and porn) and, as I said earlier, taking an authentic look at the spiritual roots under the surface.
What are the lies you have bought into with regards to porn? Your sexuality? Where have you found life? What do you go to get a sense of counterfeit well-being? Is it being too busy at work or church, porn or affairs, your local baseball or football team, your triathlon time, your swedish furniture? In other words, what do you worship, give your heart too, that isn't God?
To heal something must die. Michael quotes Paul in describing who these things take hold of our soul in counterfeit worship,
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thank to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal men and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. (Rom 1:21-25)
This is a tough journey giving up our counterfeits. It's painful and yet it is freeing. Wonderfully freeing.