Let me ask you a question…. Do you wear a mask?
It is so easy to hide behind the covering that keeps us safe and hides the flaws and imperfections that reveal our humanity.
Do you hide behind a cloak of disguise in your daily living?
I was struck by some real this week as I spent time reading through the book of Matthew and ‘hearing’ the Word of God as it became clear to my eyes and my heart.
Mathew 23:24 especially warns us about the danger of being blind and filtering our vision so that when we are looking we are seeing unclearly. In essence, we are unaware of the obvious that is right before our eyes.
The entire chapter questions the judgment of those who were in a position of authority, who went about the celebrations and the public places, to the synagogues and the feasts, with an altered view of others, but most especially themselves. It goes as far as calling them hypocrites and play actors.
Immediately, my sinful self wants to add names of individuals who would fit into that description, but as I do that I’d best not forget to add myself. Ouch!
I want to challenge you with 3 thoughts today.
- Wearing a mask actually alters how I see the world.
- Wearing a mask alters my view of others and, consequently, it also it affects how I see myself.
- Wearing a mask hinders both my view and my understanding of God.
Which leads me to ask, if my mask is hindering me, why am I continuing to hide behind it?
When we are willing to intentionally walk freely in the grace that is already set aside for us, the mask has nothing to hold it up because it can’t stay on.
Are you wearing a mask today?
What does it look like? Can you put a name to it?
- Your degree
- Your money
- Your status
- Your family
- Your church
- Your job
- Your disability
- Your habit
- Your addiction
- Your emotions
- Your fears
- Your imperfections
- Your list
- Your schedule
- …..add whatever it is you are hiding behind here…..
Are you hiding behind any of these labels to keep from allowing yourself to be exposed to grace?
Let me submit this idea… it isn’t about what you do or how you do it; it isn’t about who you know or how you know them; it isn’t about what church you go to or don’t go to; or what your family looks like , or your education, or your degree, or your paycheck, or your issues … GRACE is a limitless ocean we can all swim in, dive in, and float upon when we let go of the masks and expose ourselves to the freedom it offers.
Our masks keep us from experiencing GRACE in all its fullness.
What if we choose to set aside the judgment which so easily comes, for others and for ourselves, and go mask-free choosing to see through the lens of Scripture?
Let’s look at the Book of Mark in Chapter 12, verses 28-34. Jesus was questioned by one of the learned men who had been listening to Him reason with the Pharisees and Sadducees. He asked which commandment was the greatest. By looking at the text we can see that Jesus answered him saying the most important commandment was actually 2: #1 Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then… #2 would be to love thy neighbor as thyself. Besides these 2 commandments there were none greater.
Let’s look, though at the answer of the scribe. (Vs. 32-33)
“Well, Master, You have said truly that there is one God, and there is no other but Him. And to love Him out of and with all the heart and with all the understanding [ with the faculties of quick apprehension and intelligence and keenness of discernment] and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Now look at the reply of Jesus. (vs. 34)
“When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently (discreetly and having his wits about him), He said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Over and over as Jesus was questioned by people. Most specifically we can read about when the disciples would question Him and he would ask them… don’t you see? Don’t you understand what is being said? How are you failing to hear what is being spoken. He spoke in parables to illustrate his message and make it understandable, but for those who were close to Him, they should have been able to discern truth.
Friends, the truth is this, very simply… your mask doesn’t hide you from God and it keeps you from His love.
If we are wearing masks we place a shield up that keeps us protected from the fiery darts that we fear will wound us but….it also keeps back the love that is meant to restore and heal our souls. Our masks are actually wounding us more than the freedom of living in grace could ever do. With our masks in place, we actually hinder the movement of the Holy Spirit within our lives.
Your mask does not protect you from the things you are trying to cover up, but insulates you from the blessings that are sent your way.
What if… we choose to be faithful, merciful, and graceful, honest, forgiving and intentional in our relationships?
Better yet, what if you choose to do this also for yourself?
Being intentional to drop the mask that is hiding YOU isn’t easy, but it is worth the effort. It is even worth the minor sting that fear tries to inflict upon your very tender heart. The beauty is that when we walk mask-free, totally saturated with grace, there is no real wound because we can let it all bounce off and reroute. The barbs don’t hurt as bad or the sting last nearly as long, when we know we are loved unreservedly by the only ONE who truly matters. We have to get into the habit of pursuing God like Christ did… with reckless abandon.
A. W. Tozer says in his book, The Pursuit of God, “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love” Like the psalmist writes, follow hard after God. Pursue Him beyond the mere finding into the full awareness of what love reflects.
My soul follows hard after thee: thou right hand upholds me.~Psalm 63:8
Relinquish the mask and embrace the unique gift of you. When we have that freedom to embrace ourselves we can easily receive, bless, and love on others. When you drop the mask, the glorious beautiful YOU shines through luminously. As members of His Body we need to move past the boundaries that keep us from intentional relationships and purpose filled encouragement.
It is time that the Body of Christ breaks away from the drama that weighs us down and steps into the employment we are meant to pursue. By sowing truth and grace into the lives of others we can be builders of men and carry on the great commission: to share the Gospel message with those who need to hear the GOOD NEWS.
I want you to take a moment and go look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 simple words at least 100 times a day.
YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY!
It’s true! You are EXTRAordinary. You are beautifully talented, wonderfully gifted, and there is not a single person who is made to fulfill the God-given task you were meant to complete for His glory. And because of that… that is how I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are amazing. You have what it takes to achieve great things.
Take off the mask so that the extraordinary YOU shines through. Let your heart be so consumed with the glory of His majesty as you look upon His righteousness that the shame and the burden and the weight of life will never hold you down.
Remember, there is nothing that can separate you from God’s glorious love, so radiate His love to those in your mission field of influence. Let go of the insecurities that are no longer there, because in Christ you lack no good thing. He is perfecting you, through and through. ( Phil 1:6)
The Word of God convicted me to remove that splinter in my eye (ok… maybe it is a log) which was diverting my path of vision. I am challenged by His Truth, to be as real as possible and love with abandon because there is so much hurt and so much pain already out in the world. The world doesn’t need fake Christianity… we need His love to cover us and we need each other to be the very real hands and feet of ministry to share that love.
In 1st Peter2:9 God’s Word that reminds us who we really are, “ You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfection of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Reread that last part, and let me put my little spin on it…. you will show His wonderful deeds and display His virtues marvelously. It is really HARD to do that when we are hiding behind a mask.
Continue to 1 Peter 3:4 which is all we need to put on every day as we dress and prepare, “The inward adorning beauty of the person within that is incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit.”
When we take off the mask the inward beauty shines brilliantly.
So tell me… are you wearing a mask today? What is keeping you from taking it off?
- Are you afraid of what people will think if you are really you?
- Are you uncomfortable around others so it helps you to connect?
- Are you unsure of how to react so you choose to be invisible?
I am taking off the mask and baring real. Taking a chance that my vulnerability will be the attraction which draws others to ask, what is so different about me? Will you join me?
Praying you have the courage to remove the mask that is keeping you from the glory of His GRACE!
Each week I hope to have a section devoted to look beyond those things that are keeping us from being the truly real and transparent people we are meant to be. Being transparent doesn’t mean we are opening ourselves up to be beaten and bruised for what we believe. We need to understand that the purpose is to be Christ-like in our dealings and love with the grace that He enables us to do. It is the carrying of the cross, the rubber meets the road kind of faith that I want to wrestle with together. I hope you will journey with me on with the “What if…” series here at Journeys In Grace. Keep me challenged, as well. Ask me the hard questions. I need you to keep me accountable!
If you have missed the other posts in the “What if…” series, you can click on the links below to get caught up.
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