Monday, October 31, 2011

Behind the Mask (from Good to the Last Drop)

Halloween has taken on a different dimension for our family in recent years. My son is too old for trick-or-treating, and our finances preclude us from buying anything elaborate for our nine-year-old. This year she is wearing a hand-me-down dance costume—nothing scary, no mask.

For some people, wearing a mask is a daily affair. There is something scary about letting others see our flaws and weaknesses, our vulnerability to hurt and shame, and our lack of confidence. We hide our ugliness beneath the masks of success, materialism, and beauty, all the while crumbling inside because our hearts are diseased with sin and our souls long for perfect love and fulfillment. We don’t feel free to simply be ourselves, so we masquerade as someone we are not.

As children of God, we are free to take off our masks because Jesus, the one who sees us at our worst yet loves us unconditionally, does not condemn us for anything we have thought or done. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1, 3-4, (NIV)

When we accept what Jesus did on the cross for us, dying in our place for our sins so that we might finally break free from a life of sin and shame, we have no reason to hide behind the masks we wear. Satan, the father of lies, would have us believe that if we take off our masks and let others truly see us for who we are, we run the risk of alienating certain people and rendering ourselves useless as God’s servants.

There is nothing about our past that God cannot use for his glory if we are willing to take off our masks, walk in the freedom he purchased for us on Calvary, and surrender ourselves to his will and purpose for our lives. The very sin and struggles that he delivered us from can actually become a source of encouragement to those who are themselves trying to break free.

Father, give us, your children, the courage to lay down our masks, to allow your grace and forgiveness to penetrate our wounded hearts and souls, and to be the chosen instruments of your love to all around us who don’t know you. Give us the courage to be the men and women you created us to be; to rest in the peace and assurance that your blood washes us whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18) and to walk about in freedom as we look for your truth and wisdom (Psalm 119:45). Because you took our sin and shame and nailed it to the cross when you became the living sacrifice for us, we are free to take off our masks and walk in perfect liberty. Thank you, Jesus, for making that possible and for loving us just the way we are.

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