From Ray Ortlund:
“Fool’s gold: a term for non-gold ore similar in color to gold, usually mistaken by beginning prospectors because of the brassy glitter.”
In The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God(1741), Jonathan Edwards pulled out of 1 John 4 the biblical indicators that God is at work, even if the people involved are complicating it with their own sins and eccentricities. The true gold of grace is discernible in these four ways:
One, when our esteem of Jesus is being raised, so that we prize him more highly than all this world, God is at work.
Two, when we are moving away from Satan’s interests, away from sin and worldly desires, God is at work.
Three, when we are believing, revering and devouring the Bible more, God is at work.
Four, when we love Jesus and one another more, God is at work.
Satan not only wouldn’t produce such things, he couldn’t produce them, so opposite are these from his nature and purposes. These are sure signs that God is at work, even with the imperfections we inevitably introduce. Don’t turn away because of the non-gold; prize the gold. God is giving it.