We have all heard the expression, “Fake it ‘til you make it!” The idea is also expressed as “Act as if . . .” Both phrases mean to act as if you have confidence in a process, and as the process produces success, it will generate genuine confidence. The purpose is to avoid getting stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy: lack of confidence in a positive result leading to a negative result. The phrase, which was popularized by various 12-step recovery groups in the late twentieth century, is a simplification of Aristotle’s notion that acting virtuously will make one virtuous.
Well, I have both good news and bad news for you today. The bad news is that acting as if you are virtuous will never make you virtuous. Only God, in His grace, makes a vile sinner virtuous. The good news is that after God has made a vile sinner virtuous by His grace, we no longer have to “Fake it ‘til we make it,” because we already have made it . . . thanks to what Jesus Christ has done for us.
Those who fake it ‘til they make it are working entirely in their own strength. They are walking by sight and not by faith, and rarely do they “make it” as they had intended. We can understand the reason why an unbeliever would use this approach, but this should be as far as the east is from the west for the Christian believer!
Sadly, there are a great many men and women in the church today who put on a good show and fake their faith on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday you can’t tell them apart from the unbelieving world. Their language is not seasoned with salt, but rather peppered with profanity. Their behavior is not a light for a dark world, but rather mirrors the moral morass of the world’s system.
But this is not for you!
“I will strengthen them in the LORD and in his name they will walk,” declares the LORD. (Zechariah 10:12)
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8-9 ESV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
With promises like these, the notion that we should fake it ‘til we make it seems silly, doesn’t it? The Lord God omnipotent promises to strengthen us in our faith so that we will walk in His name rather than follow the ways of the world. He will make all His grace abound to us, so that we may abound in good works—in all good works that are done through Christ who gives us strength.
These glorious promises of putting the Gospel on display in a way that makes God attractive are grounded in God’s sufficiency, not our own. Walking by faith and not by sight lifts us far above any need to “fake it” for anyone, at any time, and for any conceivable reason.
Once we trust God’s promise of progress in this life (note that I said progress, not perfection), we are liberated to lean into the plan and purpose God has for our lives without any fear of falling or failure. Remember, falling isn’t failing unless you fail to get up. Proverbs assures us that “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16). We must hold firm to God’s promise to complete what He started, including includes what He started in you! Yes, you are a work in progress, and it’s true that progress won’t be complete until you are received into glory, but it will be completed! You can take that to the spiritual bank.
Until that day, let us do all we can with all God has given us to do it with, knowing that the power of heaven stands behind us, so there is never any need to fake it.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!