12 1-3 By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.  Luke 12:1-3....."When we wear a mask, what ultimately gets masked is the power of Christ in our lives." Ann Voskamp

 

Transparency seems to be the new buzzword in the Church these days. They say it's what's most valued by millennials, a much sought after age group by the Church. People say they want to see it in their leaders, particularly their pastors. I've no quarrel with this at all. It is needed in the Church. I do doubt just how sincere we really are in this, because true transparency doesn't begin with each other, but with Him. If we cannot be "real" with God, He can never be fully real with us...and we won't be real with each other. So real transparency will continue to be a desire, but an unrealized one. Our closets contain too many "masks" for this to be so. We've gotten used to wearing them in all places, especially the Church, and we fear to take them off...especially in our relationship with Him.


Most of us have a large collection of masks that we are able to wear in most any situation. We have our "I've got it all together" mask, our "I'm happy and content" one, our "religious" one, our "I'm living by faith" one, and our "All on the altar" one. There are many more. We can fool others with them, but we can never fool Him. King David, a man after His own heart, but also a man who would commit both adultery and murder, said to the Father, "You know who I really am." Most of us will admit to this as well, but the difference is, David was so real with God that he knew both the Father and himself. He was willing to see himself as he was, with all the mess. Because of this, he was also able to see who he could truly be in Him. The Father doesn't crush us with the truth of who we are. He brings no condemnation. But He does need us to know what and who we are without Him, because He wants to take us to the place of who and what we can be in Him. I have heard it said that when we look into the face of Christ, we see ourselves as we are. When we look into His heart, we see ourselves as we can be. When we know the truth about Him and about us, then we are on the pathway to being truly free. With our masks removed, the power of His Life is unleashed in us. We no longer fear being really known by others because we rest in the assurance that we are fully known by Him. Imperfect people perfectly loved by Him. And His perfect love must rid us of our masks to take effect in us.

He doesn't love us only at our best, but also at our worst. When Christ chose His twelve, He looked into the heart of every one of them and knew exactly who they were; Peter the braggart, John and James, the seekers of place and status, Thomas the doubter, and the unbelief and spiritual cowardice that marked them all. He met them where they were, revealed to them over the course of time what they were, and through the power of His resurrection, transformed them into who they were created to be. When they came to Him, they brought their masks, but when they stepped out to lay the foundation of His Church, all the masks had been dropped. Previously, their masks had, as Voskamp says, masked His power in their lives. Now unmasked, His power was only limited by their capacity to receive it, and for all who are willing to live "unmasked." that capacity only grows ever larger.

What masks are we wearing today? Which will we put on in order to try and fool not only those around us, but the One who knows us best? The One we can never fool at all. Let the mask drop. Dare to be unmasked, and then see the unmasked wonder of He who knows you, me, all of us, best. The One who knows not only who we really are, what we're really not, but who we can really be.

Blessings,
Pastor O

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