It was going to be a big moment: the first live broadcast of a giant panda giving birth. These popular animals, considered an endangered species, have a very low birth rate in the wild; this makes captive breeding programs extremely important. The broadcast of a live birth would be an important milestone.

Then the event was cancelled. To their chagrin, the staff at the Chengdu Breeding Research Centre discovered that the female panda had deceptively faked her pregnancy.

Apparently the panda had noticed that pregnant females received extra food, rooms with air conditioning, and round-the-clock pampering; she was smart enough to imitate the symptoms of pregnancy in order to receive such special treatment. Shortly after being moved to the maternity ward, the panda's vital signs returned to normal.

If you can't trust a panda, who can you trust?

When I was growing up in West Texas, Sunday was church day. We had "blue laws" that limited what retail business could be done on that day. And everyone was expected to go to church. In fact, it was hard to have much success in business or in politics if you weren't seen as a churchgoer.

Times have changed. A lot of people still go to church, but a growing number don't. Some of that reflects a decline in faith, but I'm guessing that some of it is due to a decline in faking. Since church attendance is no longer an expected behavior, a lot of those who went "just to be seen" no longer feel the need to be there.

I once heard a preacher say, "The Christian life is a simple thing to fake." And that's very true. Go to church on Sunday, avoid major public sins, and everyone around will consider you a fine upstanding Christian.

Everyone, that is, except God. You can fool me. You can't fool him. The apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Rather than trying to fake the Christian life, let me encourage you instead to try to live the Christian life. Give yourself completely over to God and discover the rewards that only he can give.

Don't fake it. Live it.
Faking Christianity may score points with your friends and neighbors. Living the Christian life can fill your life with purpose and meaning, giving you a powerful hope for the future.

Don't fake it. Live it.

If you're tired of faking it, write to me at or visit our website.

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