Fortnite… hmmm, how can I put this in words you would understand. In the immortal words of every Among Us player ever, you are acting “kinda sus”. For those of us who are NOT hip to the lingo, this means they are acting “kind of suspicious” (don’t worry, I googled it.) Fortnite, arguably the largest free-to-play game on the planet, has added a new gameplay mode called “Imposter”, and…well… it sounds an awful lot like the ENTIRE concept of “Among Us”, a rival game from a much, much smaller company. To be fair, we need to evaluate the evidence before we kick them out of the airlock, so let’s compare notes. The new “Imposter” mode in Fortnite pits players against each other in a challenge to determine which players are imposters and which are actually teammates. Well… yes, that is basically the entire gameplay of “Among Us”. But wait, let’s not jump to conclusions. These “imposters” are tasked with pretending to work alongside their teammates while actually sabotaging the group’s efforts. Yeah… that is still “Among Us”. Even the name “Imposter” is pulled directly from “Among Us”… let me see, there has to be something that makes these games different. Let’s look at the maps of how they are laid out… well, Gary Porter, who happens to be a developer for Among Us, has made some painfully obvious observations…
In case you aren’t catching his sarcasm, even the names and layout of maps bear more than a striking resemblance to “Among Us”… and while the actions of the Fortnite developers are not “illegal”, they certainly blur the line between artistic license and blatant plagiarizing. It is clear that none of these similarities are accidental, but the original intent could have been an affectionate homage or maybe even paying tribute to the remarkable success of “Among Us”… perhaps this new “Imposter” mode in Fortnite has been merely misunderstood. But regardless of the intentions of this new Fortnite mode, one thing has become painfully clear… any amount of success will result in a tidal wave of counterfeits, knock-offs, and elaborate copies trying to cash in on the new fad. And unfortunately, the outcome typically results in multiple watered down versions of the genuine product as well as nearly indistinguishable clones that make it even harder to identify the original source.
Identifying the real in the midst of the counterfeit has been a challenge even prior to the beginning of humanity… the “imposters” have been “among us” for as long as there has been recorded history. Surprised by that? What if I told you that it was present at the very FIRST original sin? No, not Adam and Eve… I’m talking about lucifer himself.
Isaiah 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
I hope you caught that… he said, “I will be LIKE the Most High”. The word here in the original Hebrew is “eddammeh”, which is from the root word “damah”…
Damah – to be like, to resemble
In the original fall of lucifer, his goal was to be a counterfeit version of the very real and original God of the universe. And his ability to deceive, even back then, was so advanced that he convinced many of his fellow angels to follow him in his fall from heaven…
Revelation 12:3-9 Another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Many of us may have some unique views on lucifer/satan based on our upbringing, the stories we have heard, or the information we have consumed… but here is the most important thing any of us can know about this enemy…
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Our enemy specializes in the counterfeit… taking what is real and producing a nearly indistinguishable version of the authentic. It worked back then, it still works now, and it remains his primary weapon to this day. And if we aren’t careful, even as believers in Christ we can fall for his deception. Take a look at what the Apostle Paul warned Timothy about when speaking of the false teachings and counterfeit messages during the formation of the early church…
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Let’s do this one more time just for fun… the Greek word used here for “form of” is “morphōsin”…
morphōsin – form, outline, semblance
Yep, you guessed it… it is where we get our English word “morph”. You know… like the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Just as the imposters in Among Us and Fortnite “appear” to be on the same side, fighting for the same cause, and attempting to achieve the same goals, we face a similar daily battle… to identify what is good from what is harmful, to identify what is true from what is a lie, and to tell the difference between what is merely “emulating” the Lord’s guidance and what is truly His authentic voice. Our enemy will come to us looking, smelling, and appearing to be aligned with our goals… as we saw in Christ’s temptations, satan even quoted and used the Scriptures to aid in his attacks (Matthew 4:1-11). It will sound like all the right things, feel like it is authentic, and regardless of how close we are to God we STILL run the risk of falling for his lies if we aren’t careful. But don’t take my word for it… Jesus Christ Himself offered the exact same warning…
Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
So the question is not IF we will be faced with deceptive satanic counterfeits, but how can we tell the difference when they come? If the similarities are SO pronounced that even the best of us could be deceived, what can we do to separate the imposter from the crew? And most importantly, how do we insure that we are not merely demonstrating a “form” of godliness, but are actually producing authentic fruit that is consistent with the inner workings of the power of God in our lives? I have one more parable from the lips of Christ that should shed sufficient light on this imitation predicament…
Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Tares are a specific type of weed that bears a striking resemblance to wheat… an imposter that looks good on the outside, but contains zero value, nutritional or otherwise. I suppose it would be nice if these could simply be rooted out and removed or maybe poisoned so they wouldn’t be an issue… but the reason the Lord does not simply remove the imposters is because doing so may damage the progress of those who are authentic. We all share the same soil, and our roots are interconnected whether we like it or not. But the difference between these counterfeit tares and the authentic wheat is simple… one produces food that feeds, and the other only produces life-consuming weeds.
Matthew 7:16-20 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
It is the same for looking deep within ourselves as it is for looking out at the imposters that we face in our day to day lives… what fruit is being produced? Does consuming it bring peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, and love? Or does it produce stress, division, fear, and discord? Our enemy deluges us with imposter seeds in overwhelming force like a flood (Isaiah 59:19), while our Heavenly Father speaks to us in love with a small, still voice (1 Kings 19:12). The “Imposter” spirit is not just running loose in our video games… it is present with us everywhere we go, growing alongside of us and attempting to either overpower us through sabotage or trick us through deception. And if we are not observant and become complacent in our faith, even as believers we can become guilty of producing “imposter” fruit ourselves, mimicking what we used to authentically produce and not realizing it is a hollow counterfeit that doesn’t actually FEED anybody.
The first step to identifying the counterfeit is the same as the last step… look at the FRUIT. The fruit of our enemy does not produce life, only death (John 10:10). Like the Fortnite and Among Us “imposter” syndrome, there will ALWAYS be a duplicated version of what is REAL… and sometimes the copy may even seem nicer, newer, shinier, and superior to the authentic, lending to its’ credibility. But you cannot fake the “fruit”… good seeds replenish, and counterfeit seeds diminish. The fruit of the Lord reminds us we are blessed, and consuming imposter fruit only leaves us feeling stressed. Authentic Christianity builds up, encourages, and places Christ firmly at the center. Counterfeit Christianity tears down, shames, and puts the focus on everything EXCEPT Jesus and His redemptive work for us. So don’t lose sleep trying to identify the imposters around us… just be mindful of the fruit we consume and consistently test the fruit we produce. We are all one misguided step away from producing “imposter” fruit, even if we are simply guilty of producing a copied “form” of what we once used to generate authentically. Remain intentionally and authentically connected each and every day to the True Vine (John 15:1-5)… and the fruit will take care of itself.
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