The World, that realm controlled by Satan, is violently antagonistic to God. The devil is in direct competition with God, wanting people to worship him and his ways, and to be kept from knowing God and the power of eternal salvation.
How can I say that the world is controlled by Satan? I say it on the authority of the Bible, where Satan is called the prince of this world, and where we are told that all that is in the world is against our Heavenly Father.
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out.” John 12:31
“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.” John 14:30
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not from the Father but from the world.” 1John 2:15,16
The devil displayed the nature of his world right at the outset, when he met with Eve in the Garden. Firstly the devil came in disguise; in the body of a snake, not as a fallen angel thrown out of heaven.
Secondly the devil used lies, accusing God of wanting to keep Eve from special knowledge that would do wonderful things for her. Those lies tempted Eve to use her own will to violate God’s commands. The devil didn’t take her will from her, but deceived her into using her will against God.
So, in this world we can expect that evil is disguised in many forms and that the world is full of deceiving ideas meant to lead us away from God and relationship with Him. We should expect our world to be full of counterfeits.
A counterfeit is something passed off as the real thing, but fake. It doesn’t have any value, but looks like it should be valuable. The devil has filled our world with counterfeit things and you have very likely been fooled by those counterfeits.
Let me suggest a couple that spring to mind. The world values intellect and brainy-ness. During my high school years there seemed to be great focus on IQ. Those who were better students were upheld as better than others. We were led to think being “brainy” is a ticket to success.
We have higher education qualifications and groups such as Mensa devoted to the idea that intellect is very special and important. The Bible doesn’t decry intellect, but it basically ignores it completely. The Bible puts no particular value on being more intelligent. Instead the Bible focuses on Wisdom.
Wisdom is the principle thing, not a head full of knowledge or a high IQ. Wisdom is shown to be extremely valuable and worthy of our life-long pursuit.
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme; so acquire wisdom. If it costs all you have to acquire, gain understanding.” Proverbs 4:4-7
Speaking of Wisdom, we also have Counterfeit Wisdom that comes from this world. True wisdom comes from God and looks at things from God’s point of view. Worldly wisdom is concerned with human feelings and is laced with devilish deception and enticement.
“This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” James 3:15
The world has a counterfeit value to life based around possessions. Many people consume their whole life trying to pile up possessions. People evaluate how successful their life has been based on accumulated possessions, such as house and car.
We even talk these days of ‘retail therapy’ where by buying things, adding to their collection of possessions, people hope to get a good feeling.
Possessions do not bring true happiness, security or contentment. Wealthy people commit suicide. Wealthy people can have sleepless nights in fear of losing their wealth, or upset someone has upstaged them. Wealthy people go to psychologists hoping to find resolution to their unresolved unhappiness.
The Bible tells of God giving wonderful and great possessions to people, such as Abraham, Solomon and Job. But the Bible celebrates and extols the value of ‘contentment’ rather than possessions.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1Timothy 6:6
“Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil.” Proverbs 15:16
“I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances” Philippians 4:11
In our Social Media addicted world we also find the deception of connections and networking over relationship. When social media platforms began to spawn I heard older people scoffing at those having a hundred or more ‘friends’. True friends are few and far between and can often be counted on our fingers. For all the connectivity social media provides it can’t cause more people to be true friends with us. We might know more about their favourite food but that is a false sense of friendship.
For many people social media has taken them away from friendships and relationship and distracted them with a bunch of activity with a wide sweep of contacts with whom they actually have fairly superficial relationships.
Jesus reinforced the Old Testament command to love our neighbour. That kind of relationship involves care, connection and time, that are not able to be replaced with a technological link. God is not against technology, but God wants us to see things for what they are, not get caught in the hype of popular culture, at the expense of things that are important.
There are many other areas to investigate as counterfeit, so this is just a teaser to get you thinking. The last area I will mention here is that of sensual pleasure displacing morality and the sacredness of marriage.
Many people today think of sexual intimacy as of little value, not a sacred gift to be shared exclusively between husband and wife. The counterfeit of pleasure is leading people to destroy themselves morally and come under multiple negative effects. Those who believe the lie probably think they are blessed by sexual freedom, but that level of relationship is a lie and directly opposed to God’s moral standards.
So give careful attention to what is going on in our world around us, and that which has become the popular mindset and activity pattern. I suggest that you take it for granted such things are deceptive and counterfeit, meant to lead people into some place where they will be kept from relating with God and finding their true life purpose. Look for God’s truth and Beware the Counterfeits.