Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and
When everyone has gone
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They’re the faces of the strangerBut we love to try them on
Well we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised
That you never saw the stranger
Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?
So, I’m thinking I must have mis-communicated something the other day while I was preaching. I know what I did, my word choices led to a misunderstanding of the point I was trying to make. So let me put it another way.
People wear masks.
Sometimes we are forced to, most times it is a choice.
Some people put on the ‘wise’ mask or the ‘smart’ mask so people don’t know what is really happening. Some people wear the ‘introvert’ or frankly, the ‘extrovert’ mask to hide their insecurities or self-loathing. Some folks choose ‘holiness’ as a mask to cover what they really are. Many of us pretend to be stoic and strong, many of us pretend to be weak. It just depends on the situation.
I’d like to believe that folks on their spiritual journey, especially followers of Jesus Christ, would be in the process of becoming more and more themselves, less concerned with the opinions and of the World around them (I don’t mean in terms of holiness!), and more concerned with the wholeness of their walk; the desire to be the same person, inside and out. I think that’s the best place to be. Most of the Jesus folk that I have the privilege of knowing are somewhere in that transition, thanks to the work of the Divine (the Holy Spirit in this case), but there is a catch, and that’s where Sunday’s sermon crossed with this topic.
The one requirement for spiritual growth is brokenness; admission of failure, admission of need, admission of wrong-doing. Our pretensions and protestations of our own holiness and self-sufficiency hold us back from real growth. We first come to Christ saying, “I can’t make it on my own,” and every step after that is based on a working knowledge of the adjustments (repentance) I need to make in my life to Jesus as our master, teacher, sensei…….Lord. Therefore, self-honesty is a cornerstone ethic of our walk. I don’t mean to say that you look at yourself and just see how horrible you are, you also need to see the good that God is making you into, but there can be no compromise or ignoring of the things in your life that need to change. In this case, I am specifically talking about the ‘mask’ of religion that many of us wear to hide where we are with Jesus. But the ‘masks’ of self-deceptive attitudes and beliefs must be thrown away.
Here’s the bright sun shinging through. God will help you throw down falsehood and pretension, but it is He, not you, that enacts real change in you. So the drive should be towards surrender to God and allowing Him to speak His words into your heart, not towards behavior modification.