You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness. 1 Thessalonians 2:5 NIV

In the Circle Trilogy book by Chrisitan author Ted Dekker, the protagonist finds a doorway into an alternate reality when he falls to sleep. In the other world, your skin texture and color are a reflection of the purity of your heart.  The Albino’s had white skin after following Elyon (God). The other group were called Scabs who drank from the forbidden waters offered by Teelah (representing Satan). The deceived Scabs thought their dark scaly skin was normal, while the Albinos were the real threat. What a concept that the condition of your heart is seen on the outside.

Deception among religious people occurs way too often. Even Jesus warned against leaders deceiving others as wolves in sheep’s clothing. By the time that the fruit of their actions and words are realized, much damage has occurred. Impure motives are hidden very well, how can you spot an imposter? How can you recognize who is really behind the mask?

Guidance to identify a fake leader?

  • Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. The Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that Ananias and Sapphira were lying about the amount of money they were claiming to have sold their land and were giving to the church. The Holy Spirit can uncover impure motives in others and convicts ourselves when we are being deceived.
  • Learn to become a fruit inspector. The Bible repeats often that you will know people by their fruit. 
    • The fruit of the Spirit is genuine – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control
    • The deeds of the flesh are also evident – lying, greed, pride, gossip, using others, etc
    • Imperfection is not bad fruit, but a tree is known by the totality of its fruit.
  • Observe the type of close friends that they have
    • Do they listen to wise counsel by others?
    • Do they have the humility to let other close friends correct them?
      • Faithful are the wounds of a friend
    • Do they always want to do things alone?
  • What layers of accountability do they have and is it authentic?
    • Who do they have giving accountability to their money and how it is spent?
    • Controlling people many times have “yes men” for a board
  • Researching the legitimacy of an “ask” is not a lack of faith
    • Ask for help from a trusted friend when asked to give to a project
    • If a person gets angry that you don’t trust them, that’s a good sign NOT to trust them.
  • Waiting is always a good option when you feel uncomfortable about a decision if someone is asking for money for their “project”.
  • “My way or the highway” is not the mantra of a servant leader.
    • Jesus said that rulers of the world exert power and influence over their subjects. Leaders in the kingdom serve and become the least.

Gossip is not right, but seeking information about trusting others is a helpful guard against wolves in sheep’s clothing. May God shed light on the plans of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy His sheep. 

We serve a faithful Shepherd who keeps watch over His sheep. He willingly laid down His life for the sheep.  Sacrifice is a good trait to look for in a trusted leader. Paul led by example in his sacrifice to the Thessalonians. 

Father, may You help give the discernment necessary to reveal those who are operating  in greed and impure motives. 

Blessings Love y’all