Bootleg Faith
Susanne Scheppmann

"Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith." 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)

A skeleton hangs in my family's history closet. It's very quiet. No one brings the skeleton to our family gatherings. It seldom rattles, but when it does, we all look at each other appalled. How can our family have a history of bootlegging?

During the Prohibition of the 1920's when the government forbade the making or selling of any type of alcohol, my forefathers saw opportunity. My great-grandfather and grandpa contrived a small distillery in a basement and bootlegged alcohol. The original term, bootleg, comes from the attempt to conceal something, usually whiskey in a flask, inside a high-top boot. However, during the Prohibition, the term "bootleg" was used to refer to brewing a drink that was a copy of the real thing.

So, our "family wealth" expanded from the illegal activity of making "liquid gold" in the form of moonshine. Though it may have looked like the real stuff - whiskey - it smelled like oil and tasted like acid, according to those folks who remember the brew.

Sometimes our faith is bootlegged. We try to imitate the appearance of faith we see in others. We copy or fake their faith so we can feel or appear spiritual. Or, like my "family wealth," perhaps our faith is passed down to us. "Family faith" feels comfortable, like a well-worn leather boot. We may participate in rituals, celebrations, and prayers that we don't understand or even care about. Bootlegged faith is never authentic growing faith. It's fake.

I want my faith to be genuine and not a hand-me-down, don't you? Let's pledge today to grow our own faith by reading God's Word, praying and attending a Bible-based church. Let's show our communities an authentic faith that glorifies God.

Dear Lord, help me not to "bootleg" my faith from others, but to walk with You. Grow authentic faith within me. Thank you for the privilege of glorifying You through my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Birds in My Mustard Tree by Susanne Scheppmann

Making It Real: Whose Faith is it Anyway? by T. Suzanne Eller

Visit Susanne’s blog

Application Steps:

Read Acts 2:41-42. List the spiritual disciplines of the early followers of Christ. Choose one to practice in your own life. Ask God to increase your personal faith as you seek a closer relationship with Him.

Do I try to falsely imitate someone else's faith?

How can I develop a strong faith of my own?

Power Verses:
Acts 2:41-42, "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (NASB)

Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (NIV)

1 Peter 1:6-7, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (NIV)

Based from Birds in My Mustard Tree by Susanne Scheppmann

© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people I have met,in church or outside of church,are fake,they say they want to help you,that they will pray for you etc. but when I really need them they are nowhere to be found,complete silence comes from them,this just rips me apart and makes me wonder how they can call themselves Christians. How will they stand in the Judgement one day? "I was lonely and you never came to see me, I was naked and you never gave me clothes".....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,I can relate to #1 comment,my husband was going thru a difficult time of his life,and he confided in this person who he thought was a Christian person full of faith,and encouragement,well when he really needed this persons support,he could'nt reach this person either thru phone calls e-mails etc. That is a person who is fake and who has a fake facade of faith,how will they stand in Judement you asked? Let me say I would'nt want to be them! God bless you #1

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion – it is a hard and humbling lesson to learn…
Growing up I wanted to be just like my older sister – walk like her, talk like her, sing like her and have the faith that she has.
I would sing and raise my hands up at church b/c she did; I would close my eyes and say Amen! b/c she did.
When she went away to college –I was forced to become ME. I had no one to copy cat anymore – and I began to turn into the Desiree I know today.
I realized how much of a “bootlegger” I had become in everything especially my faith! I had to start over and discover my own faith and when I did I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me, I was simply me and that’s what I had been missing all along.
What I’m getting at is, it’s so easy to become that “bootlegger” that “fake” person in church or in your daily life and not even realize it. I’m sure there were times when someone needed one of us and we were no where to be found. God knows I have not been the best person on this earth! We must love everyone and show thru example God’s love… no matter how many times they seem to disappoint us.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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