What do you think of when I say the word mask? Are you thinking of the holiday Halloween? It’s a holiday celebrated in Ireland and the USA, when you dress up as something or someone else, and you cover your face so that you are somewhat unrecognizable. But even when it’s not Halloween, we all wear masks at one time or another. Some of us wear masks all the time. We hide the real us and pretend to be something we are not.
Let me give you an example: I knew a person once who put up a very good front. They were outgoing, fun-loving, some would say that they were a real “people person.” They lived one way out in public, and another way in private. This person had a lot of friends, and they really liked the interaction with others, in fact they craved interaction so much that they would seek nearly every opportunity to become the center of attention. If the conversation wandered away from the focus of the self, or what they thought was important to them, well then, they would interject and turn the conversation back onto their focus. If people were talking and this person had something that they wanted to say, they would interrupt the speaker and talk loud enough so that everyone else had to be quiet. This person could talk a good game. They were a Christian, but they were a Christian that pulled their Bible off of the shelf when they attended church on Sunday, and then promptly put the Bible back on the shelf until the next Sunday. The Word did not seem to be lived out in their life. When they were at church they could talk a real godly game. So much so, that many were fooled into believing that this person was indeed a godly person that kept our Lord in the forefront of their life. But, the actions of this person proved that their life was actually being lived on the other end of the spectrum. Eventually, their motives were discovered and they tumbled deep down. Now, that may be an extreme story of how someone lives a life diametrically opposed to one in which God lives and is active within our heart. They in effect were fooling themselves, not wanting to face what flaws they have, and far from trying to be all that only God can make them. They wore that mask all the time.
Eventually all of us don masks to make ourselves accepted, to make us feel better about ourselves. And when we do this, we are not only masking ourselves, we are masking what God represents, and who God is. When we mask ourselves to others and pretend to be something that we are not, well then, God simply cannot shine through. If we are not careful and purposeful, those masks begin to take over our lives. We focus on who we want to appear to be, we hide our weaknesses so that we can present ourselves to the world in what we think is the best light. We are fooling ourselves. We are looking for the glory of man, instead of glorifying God.
Now when we look for the glory of man, we push God to the wayside. We don’t consult God, we don’t pray to seek God’s will, and we certainly don’t wait on God. We plow ahead with whatever plan we have. Or, in situations that seem urgent to us we just simply move along. Galatians 6:7 says “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” So many times I’ve acted rashly and did not wait to ask God what His will was. I may have even started out to seek God’s will but like Saul (1 Samuel 14:19), I withdrawal my inquiry before God because I am in a hurry to take advantage of what seems to be a opportune moment. And, in those moments, I sure have suffered some very unpleasant consequences.
Instead, I should be more like Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first King, (1 Samuel 14). Jonathan was a person who actively sought God’s will. Now I would like to think that I am a Jonathan in each and every circumstance that I face, but if I believed that, well then I would be wearing one of those masks that I spoke about earlier. And, I believe eventually in one way or another we will all get unmasked; if not in this life, we for sure will be unmasked when we stand face-to-face with God. I would rather contemplate the fact that I behave like Saul now while I’m still here on Earth, and can do something about it, before I face my Lord. I would rather take that mask off now, and leave it off each and every moment of my life. If I do that, I give God the opportunity to work through me so that He gets all the glory He deserves.