Today is Halloween! I don’t know how you feel about this holiday but it has always been one of my favorites because it means friends, candy, and costumes. On Halloween all you have to do is put on a mask and you can become anyone you want to be for a night. Take a trip over to Party City and spend a little money and you can be Willie Robertson, Ronald Reagan, or even Joe Dirt (All costumes I have used in the past).
There is something I’ve noticed though. A lot of us don’t just wear masks on Halloween, we wear them every day of the year. We put on these masks because we are in desperate need of approval. We don’t want anyone to see our messiness, our hurt, and our shame so we put on these masks and present a false exterior to earn acceptance. We believe that no one could ever accept us if we are truly ourselves.
Many put on the mask for the approval of their peers. We find a group of people we want to be a part of and begin to talk, walk, and dress just like them in an attempt to fit in and find acceptance. But some of us don’t just stop there, we believe that we must do the same thing with God.
We think that God is looking for someone who simply walks, talks, and dresses like a Christian. Many have bought in to the lie that Christianity is about cautiously following a list of rules in order to earn God’s acceptance. Guys, this is NOT Christianity. Christianity is not a list of rules that we must follow. It’s a relationship with Jesus Christ and the beauty of Jesus is that we don’t need to hide, or put on a false exterior for Him or anyone else. We don’t need to pretend we’re okay, when we’re not, or pretend that we have it all together. We all have struggles, hurts, doubts, and sin. And here is the good news… Jesus welcomes us with open arms. He sees all of us- the good, the bad, the ugly- and loves us anyway.
Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t die for some perfect version of you. He didn’t die for the mask you’re wearing. He can see right through the mask into your messiness, brokenness, and shame and He still loves you so much that He died for you. You don’t have to be something you’re not to win His approval. You can run to Him even in your failure and you don’t have to follow a list of rules because our value and identity are not found in the things that we do. Our identity is found in who Jesus says we are and He says we are loved, cherished, redeemed, and set apart.
So take off the mask. God cares much more about what is on the inside than your outward appearance. He doesn’t want you to just walk, talk, and act like a Christian. John 15:8 says, “I am the vine: you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus wants you to abide in Him and when you abide in Him the Holy Spirit will consume you from the inside out. So you will look like a Christian but it won’t be because you’re wearing a mask, it will be because you are truly abiding in Him.