Last night, we began a series at the Fellowship that begins to ask us the question: "Are we living a real life before all men? What kind of life are we living before men? Are we allowing what He created to be what He created it for?
Think of it this way... God created us for the purpose of reaching people. For some that may mean the people in the Massai Tribe in Africa, for others it could be Joe the Plumber. Either way, we cannot refute the fact that we are created for a specific purpose that He has already planned for each and every one of us.
Because of this truth, we cannot live with a mask on our face, personality, attitude, beliefs, etc. The list goes on. The point here is that if we DO live with a mask and cover who we really, truly are and have come to be by the guiding of the Holy Spirit, we are putting a mute on the effectiveness that we could have in accomplishing that which God has called us to.
All of this thinking about masks has brought me to some realizations in my own life that can best be revealed in a small, yet handy, personal question and answer series as posed below:
Question: Do I wear a Mask?
Answer: Yes. Absolutely.
Question: What is your Mask?
Answer: Not so easily answered. This is a question that asks us to realize what our masks are. But more than just what are our masks, what is the real me? Who did God create when He breathed my life? When He spoke me into existence and formed me in my mother's womb? This brings me to ask many more questions about my self and probably can't be answered on a simple blog post however, I think that the answer lies in who I am when I am in the most intimate setting. Who do I truly reflect when I can't sit there and BS my way through a conversation? Let's face it, there are many situations where true character comes through: Intense competition for some; High stress workplace situations for others. The fact still remains that there are places that masks are revealed and there are places that masks have a tough time falling. But in order to accurately describe who God created we must identify the places that we are not authentic, not real, and most definitely calculated and guided in our talk, actions, and demeanor.
Last night, the statement was made at the Fellowship, that our true character shows through everything in times of adversity. When adversity sets in, we truly see who an individual is and who they show confidence in. While this is very true and can probably cover a many multitudes of people, there is a bigger picture here. There is something more that must be weighed when we are talking about masks. Because you see, masks that we put up are visible and active in times of prosperity also. They are present everyday of our lives and sometimes we simply rationalize them and put them off as defense mechanisms or ways that we "naturally" act when that happens.
Which brings me to my last point for this blog post. How do we remove a mask that has become so much a part of us that we can't even see it?
The fact is that when we talk about masks, we are talking about a false reality that we have created for ourselves. It is not something that we have received as a gift from Christ or something that we can blame on someone else. We have created it. We have made it up. We have given ourselves the confidence, through our own minuscule power that we won't be seen or we won't be fully known if we live in this false reality. It's almost as if we have created an alias or a double life in some cases.
How do we remove that double life, when we have become so accustomed to it that we accept it as reality?
That is the tough question.
That is the question that hurts.
That is the question that will penetrate to the truth.
That is the question that will change your life.
Who are you when adversity strikes? Who are you when you are with different groups of people?
What does your mask look like?
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."