I met him on the street and shared the gospel with him. Weeping bitterly on the street, not caring who saw him, he seemed to genuinely repent of his sins. The next time I saw him he seemed completely different, happy, in control. To me that demonstrated the “fruit” of true salvation.
How wrong I was.
One may wonder if it is even possible that somebody could pretend to be a Christian. Yes, it’s definitely possible. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:13
“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”.
So here are some things that I learnt from 4 confusing, consuming months with an imposter:
- That it is so important to be able to recognize other people after the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:16.
- That we need to be able to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1) Even though someone may have amazing “revelations”, quote scripture, do all the right things, seem spiritual, this can all be a facade. We need to listen to the Spirit. Is there a check in our spirit regarding this person? Ask God for the gift of discernment.
- Never to put any human being EVER before my own children (yes, sadly I had to learn this lesson)
- To listen to my husband and my father, especially because they are Christians. Sadly, as Eve was deceived by Satan, it does seem to be easier for women, in general, to be deceived than men.
- That my desperation to see “results” of my work in the gospel had opened the door to the enemy. Christ should always be the centre – not our ministry, not results, not fruit.
- That I should not be too quick to trust, but at the same time, not become hard and cynical. Trust needs to be earned.
- That the devil seeks to consume us. Consume time, energy, spiritual life, emotional well-being. Any way he can destroy us through exhaustion/burn out he will attempt it.
- That God is not the author of confusion nor disorder, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33). If there is confusion, disorder, if things seem to becoming undone and out of control then the situation is not of Him.
(On this note, God gave me a dream around this time:
In the dream I invited a new friend to my home I believed to be
spiritual. Suddenly and unexpectedly this friend started throwing furniture around my home. It was scary, confusing and out of control. This is exactly what the devil will do if you give him right of access in any way.)
- That an imposter can have a lying spirit and so will tell you things that they can’t possibly know without some sort of supernatural help. What this guy told me I thought was from God, when his source was actually Satan.
- That because God knew my heart was sincere towards Him and that because I really did seek God’s will for my life, God did not let the situation go any further or for any longer than He had pre-determined according to His sovereign will. In a period of 48 hours God exposed the lies and deception of the imposter completely and entirely.
- That God is kind. I mean really so KIND. Even when we make mistakes and mess things up. He was so gentle with me during this time, especially during the period that He removed the veil of deception from my eyes. By this time my body was steeped in physical exhaustion, my emotions were all over the place and my faith was flagging. God knew, and He was oh-so gentle with me. He upheld me and I will never, ever forget His gentle kindness towards me – His imperfect, erring servant.
- That God is still in control in the chaotic situations of our lives – IF we are truly yielded to Him.
- That God used this situation to teach us so much. Discernment, wisdom, knowing others after the Spirit can unfortunately only be learned through hard-experience.
The hard and confusing thing about this situation was that we really did love this guy. We sincerely wanted to see him saved. We truly wanted to be used of God. We had a zeal for God, but not the wisdom to accompany it.
Even though this was one of the hardest times I have experienced, God used it and taught us greatly and abundantly. Now years later, I see the fruit and depth of that experience in us and blessing others. I pray that this post will speak to someone who may be going through a similar situation. I pray others will learn through my mistakes. May God bless you with His kindness, wisdom and discernment.
“I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…” Ezekiel 13:21, 22