Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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Our Counterfeit Culture

Photo courtesy of Tomas Hawk via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Tomas Hawk via Flickr

Today’s single person faces a much different and more challenging cultural climate than previous generations. So many cultural pressures invade and influence every aspect of life. Social media, television, movies, magazines, educational environments, and liberal governmental rulings all encourage vast and ever-expanding cultural shifts.

Some people consider this simply a progressive mindset, similar to the changing music or fashion trends from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and so on. But in doing so, we are deceived. We forget there is a battle going on all around us in the spiritual dimension.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

If you would, put on your “spiritual dimension” glasses and walk briefly into that parallel universe.

The dark room feels threatening. Flickering shadows breakdance on the walls from fires burning everywhere. The walls, curtains, doors, and barricades across the windows — everything is on fire, yet without burning. Shape-shifting demons wander about aimlessly until their dark lord enters. Then a scurried shuffle occurs as each one fights for a seat at the master’s table.

The battle plan presented is for the heart, soul, mind and body of every living person. His strategy is outlined with precise cunning. It won’t be a frontal attack — oh, no. That would be instantly recognized and met with much resistance. Something a little more subtle is necessary.

Instead of calling his biggest, fiercest, warrior, the leader summons his slimy, slithering Corporal Counterfeit. This demon has a successful reputation of deceiving people for years. Instead of influencing people with, How can you believe in a God that you cannot see? he whispers, Sure, believe what you want — just wait a while longer. Live your life first before you settle down.

His strategy is to capture us by attacking us at our most vulnerable points. Early abuse, neglect, abandonment, and low self-worth are some of his favorite tools. They always seem to ambush us early in life and erode our hopes, dreams, values, and potential. They are trusted weapons, but he pushes his devious mind for even more misleading tactics.

Aha! I’ve got it! he screeches. I will target every good thing God has planned for them, every sound thing He has spoken in His Word, every tidbit of wisdom He has given for a fulfilling life, and I will counterfeit it. Contradiction is far too bold. But counterfeit? Well, that’s ingenious! It will confuse even those who try to find the Truth.

Instead of shouting, I will whisper. Instead of demanding, I will influence. Instead of opposing directly, I will hypnotize with tolerance, relativism, political correctness, and cultural pressures to fit in.

And so the subtle subversion begins.

At an early age he whispers thoughts of unworthiness. You’re just not worth your parents’ (or step-parents’) attention  — if you were, they would spend more quality time with you. Would they ignore you if you were significant? If you had any value at all, would they abuse you like they do? It must be your fault they exploit you at your most vulnerable core. With this assault, he undermines a child’s core identity and the incredible worth God places on him or her (Psalm 139:13-16).

The whispers continue as the years pass.

What is your sexual orientation? How do you know if you don’t experiment? Don’t talk with anyone about it — that’s embarrassing. Besides, they don’t understand — they’re from a different time altogether. Go on; try different things with both genders. Find out what you like — try everything so you know what attracts you.

This attack is aimed at disrupting God’s original plan of one man and one woman being in a committed, nurturing, married relationship (Genesis 1:27).

He hisses, Have you had sex yet? What’s your problem — are you afraid? You might be the last virgin in the universe and everyone knows it. C’mon — get with the program! Everyone is doing it — and it is fun! Matter of fact, your goal should be to ‘hit that and hit it as often as possible’ because sex is incredibly fun! This method cleverly counterfeits the most sacred union God intends between one man and one woman (Hebrews 13:4) — knowing full well the emotional scars and guilt such immoral indulgence leaves on future relational fulfillment.

Oh, here’s an awesome thought, he cackles. It’s okay to be religious. Go to church, attend every time the doors are open, sing the songs, even read the Bible. Knock yourself out because religion is cool. Find a church that offers cutely phrased three-point sermonettes of happy existentialism. Base your eternal hopes on religion. After all, God is love, right? How would a loving God send a religious person to hell?

With this deft move, he shrewdly replaces a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ with the hollow hope of religion (John 3:1-18).

On and on he goes — whispering in our ears day and night. His whisper doesn’t sound menacing — oh, no. It is sweet to the sound. He makes his deranged logic appealing to impressionable and unsuspecting minds. In addition, his nonsense is parroted and promoted by the media in the incessant cultural battles.

Yes, an unseen battle is raging. It’s not one of bold contradiction — rather, one of sneaky counterfeit and subtle erosion. The only hope you have against this onslaught is God’s Word, the armor of God, and the investment you make in equipping yourself spiritually.

How do you fight back or protect yourself against this spiritual attack? Challenge every cultural concept by comparing it to God’s Word. Confront every societal influence by instilling godly values into your life. Defy every “mainstream” attempt to invade your life by studying God’s Word and applying it daily in your life situations. Then put on “the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13-18) as your spiritual protection.

Beware of cultural counterfeits subtly aimed at deceiving you, my friend. Your future — and your destiny — depend on the decisions you make today.

About Nate Stevens

A missionary kid raised in a Christian home and church, Nate Stevens is a lifelong student of Scripture. He has enjoyed a 36-year banking career in a variety of leadership roles. He is the author of "Matched 4 Life," "Matched 4 Life Workbook," "Deck Time with Jesus," and contributes to the Moments book series (Divine Moments, Spoken Moments, Stupid Moments, etc.). He co-leads a singles ministry in the Charlotte, NC area and is a popular speaker / teacher at conferences, seminars and Bible study groups, speaking on a wide variety of topics. Nate currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, is a newlywed to his beautiful wife, Karen, and is an active dad with two awesome kids, Melissa and Mitchell.
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