Why do some Christians wear masks when they attend church? Why do they pretend that everything is alright when it isn’t? Why do they portray an image of success when really they are trying to make ends meet? Could it be an attempt to prove one’s spirituality to others? Or could it be the fear of being hurt by people that we open ourselves up to? For whatever reason, many Christians today go to church but don’t engage in meaningful relationships because they haven’t learned the freedom of transparency. Others enter into relationships that are superficial, without any meaningful fellowship. If there is one thing that today’s Christians need, it is to “keep it real!”
Some believers equate honesty with weakness because when they share personal information, they put their cards on the table for others to see. Supposedly, this makes them vulnerable for others to use that information to hurt them or take advantage of them, not to mention think less of them. So they choose to keep things superficial so they don’t risk being hurt. But in doing so, they also lose the reward that meaningful relationships can give them.
What many Christians need is a fresh baptism of the Spirit, not so they can experience the power of God in the form of a tangible anointing or goose bump, but so they can be filled with the love of God. This love will enable believers to overcome the selfishness that causes them to remain in a state of self-preservation instead of looking out for the interests of others. It’s amazing what the power of love can do for an individual that allows the Holy Spirit to influence them. This is evident in the life of Jesus’ disciples.
Without the Holy Spirit, they all denied the Lord. But with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, they put their lives on the line because of their love for the Lord and for people. Paul was so moved by the power of love that after he was stoned to death, he rose from the dead and continued preaching to the same people that killed him! But today, some pastors will modify their messages to tickle ears if people aren’t giving enough in the offering plate?!
Where’s the love? In the hearts of those who refuse to wear masks. In the lives of those who choose to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way by sharing with others what God has blessed them with. In the midst of relationships that are not superficial or manipulative. Those who have experienced the freedom of being transparent with others know what it’s like to have the burden lift of trying to be something that they aren’t. They also know the benefits of receiving encouragement through meaningful relationships. And they definitely have matured beyond the point of walking in the fear of being hurt. They value others’ needs above their own comfort and care more about God’s desire to minister to others than being viewed as spiritual.
Walking in love is not an option, it is a commandment. And His commandments are not burdensome, they are fulfilling. When we obey His call to love others at all costs, we will reap the benefits of true relationship, which overshadows the disappointments and hurts that we may experience.
It’s time to take off the mask. Be real with yourself and with others. And most importantly, be real with God. He is not impressed with your spirituality and to be honest, neither are others. The image you may be trying to portray isn’t helping the real you. It is only insulating you from the people God wants to use to be a blessing to you. Others want to know “the real you” so you can give them something that is significant and so you can receive from them.
How can real people with real problems meet a real Savior through Christians who are not real? They can’t. The world is crying out for real people to demonstrate the love of God to them, not plastic Christians who pretend that they are better than others. No more plastic smiles and Sunday suits. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with His love so fear and pride won’t be able to hinder you from the relationships God has prepared for you.
“Clean the inside of the cup first, and the outside will also be clean.” That’s what Jesus said. “This is how they will know you are my disciples, by your love for one another.” (Once again, the words of Jesus) Obey His Word and you will be glad that you did. Be free. Be real. Be you!