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From Behind the Mask

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This week is Halloween, and though some Christians do not celebrate this holiday, I celebrate it wholeheartedly.  Why? Because this holiday, other than being full of creative costumes and a bag full of Reese cups, it is a clear example of the kind of lives that we live every day as human beings.  It’s not only October 31st that we put on masks to hide our true identity.

We do that every day.

It’s Only Pretend…Right?

How often do we pretend that our day is going just swimmingly when our strokes are leading us straight into the mouth of a shark? How often do we tell friends, family members, or perfect strangers that we’re doing fine, or even doing well, when on the inside we’re crying out in desperation?

How often do we smile and go about our days as though everything is right with the world, all while the struggles that we face are grasping at us and threatening to bring the walls down and expose us for who we truly are?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived behind a mask for the majority of my life. When I was younger, I was shy and so I would physically hide behind my parents and their taller frames when I was afraid or unsure of my surroundings or other people.  I grew up telling fibs about my life because I didn’t want people to judge me or my family because my sister is handicapped.
I pretended for years that the laughter and teasing that I received when my body didn’t look like that of my friends didn’t hurt. I’ve pretended that I was outgoing, while my heart cried out to run and hide because of my insecurities.  I’ve acted as though the heartbreaks and rejections of the men I dated didn’t diminish my self-worth, when in fact they had reduced me to a fraction of myself.
None of these actions have been beneficial to my self-esteem or my outlook on life.  None of them have done anything but paint my world in tones that were not true to my nature.  Instead of feeling better about my situations, I often felt guilty and alone.

Even Christians Hide Behind Masks

Even as Christians, we hide behind masks.  We hide our faith from those who think differently than us because we don’t want to get into a Biblical discussion, either because we fear our knowledge is not developed enough to withstand a test, or because we’re afraid of being made fun of.
We hide the grace and love of Jesus under a bushel, not allowing our light to shine because we’re afraid that we’re not worthy of this love because of situations in our past.  We’re afraid to let others know what our Sundays revolve around because they will surely judge us and begin looking for reasons why Christianity is not worth our time or devotion since we are imperfect beings.
God didn’t make us to hide our circumstances, our imperfections, our feelings and insecurities.  He didn’t make us to hide His love and grace, only sharing it with other Christians.  He told us to go out into the world and share His good news.
And so today, I provide you an analogy, perfect for the week of Halloween, of what God can do for you, if you allow Him to care for you.  How being a Christian is like being a pumpkin…
How is being a Christian like being a pumpkin? (From Behind the Mask) - imperfectvessel.com
I read this analogy years ago and though it is simple, it makes so much sense.  God doesn’t leave you in the pumpkin patch, covered in dirt, to rot.  He pulls you up out of your circumstances and helps you to shake off the despair and insecurities that cover you.  He opens up your heart and removes the feelings of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and replaces the empty spaces with His love.  The changes in your heart put a smile on your face, which makes it easier to go into the world and shine His light, sharing how your Creator has changed your life from the inside out.  The old self and feelings that we have hid behind a mask are cast aside, just like our sins have been wiped clean through Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross. 
That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means.  When we are lowered into the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country. (Romans 6:4 MSG)

Will you come out from behind the mask?  Will you allow God to wash away the dirt and grime of your old life and raise you up into a new life full of light?

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    1. Thank you, Wendy! I’ve had this message in my mind for many years. I’ve often thought it would be a great sermon, but never had an opportunity to preach it, so I posted it here. It really does fit in well with the concept of #movingforward. I’m happy to know that you’ve been touched by it!

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