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The Real Thing
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Recently, I heard the experience of a secret service agent in regard to counterfeit money. He said that in his training to recognize counterfeit money, he studied and studied and studied. But the interesting point of his study was that he never looked at the counterfeit. He only focused on the real thing. He memorized every detail of the genuine money, making mental notes of each characteristic that made it the real thing. That way, when the counterfeit did show up, it would be easily recognized. It would be caught not by what it was, but by what it was not.

I got to thinking about this. What if the secret service agent had studied in the opposite way? What if he had studied, in detail, the counterfeit? Well, it would certainly teach him some characteristics of the fake. But I think his method was better. The best way to recognize if something is not genuine is to know inside and outside what is.

Genuine and Counterfeit

Naturally, this story took my mind to an illustration of God and Satan. You know, the Genuine and the counterfeit. For every genuine gift that is given by God, Satan provides a fake. Why? Because Satan's greatest tactic in deception is to mix good and evil in the same pot and come out with a product that looks good at a glance, but is rotten at the core. It's a tactic that works quite well for him. Think about it. How easily would we be deceived by things that are totally bad? How many children would go with a stranger who actually threatened their lives? None, of course. But how many have been persuaded by a stranger who speaks softly, carries a puppy, and has a bag of candy in his pocket?

The Bible is the genuine treasure upon which our lives here and forever depend. Studying God's Word, inside and out, taking note of details, and memorizing major characteristics is the best way for us to be able to recognize the counterfeit messages of Satan. A study of Satan may be helpful to us in knowing how evil he is. But a thorough study of God and of the Bible will give us the knowledge and discernment to spot the counterfeit and the counterfeiter. Not by what it is, but by what it is not.

“There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death” (Proverbs 6:25).

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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