No my friends, this letter to you does not revolve around the masks that those who are abusing their power of authority over us are attempting to cause unyielding obedience from us, although I will not say that they may make an appearance in this evenings letter. It is about the mask you and I put on every morning, and for far too many get changed several times over the course of the day.
They are the masks that we are freely obedient to, they are in no way ever forcefully placed upon us, we choose to wear them. We all know what we look like inside, though many will refuse to stare for long at that un-masked individual, in fact for some, they have been deceiving themselves for so long that they would not even recognize themselves if they passed themselves on the street. It is an aura, if you will, of what we want others to see, the perception of what we believe they want us to be, or one that we have determined will fit most appropriately for the occasion. They are not so much a manipulation of our emotional state as they are the external idea of what or who we should be in each situation, what we believe would best be representative of what is expected of us. In the simplest of terms, we act differently in front of those we have known for a longer period of time than those we have just met, we “let our guard down,” as it is said, and place a different mask on depending on the familiarity we have with the individual in front of us.
Straight to the point? “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6) That was God speaking, it was Jesus and the Holy Spirit that said those words. You will not find one single place in the Word of God where Jesus pretended to be someone that He was not, it did not matter who He was speaking to, He retained His character at all times, He changed it for no one, and thus integrity was found in Him. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) You cannot wear a mask in front of the Lord, or perhaps I should say, you can wear all the masks that you want to, but He will see right through to the you that you truly are. You must ask yourself this question, why do I wear all these masks, why will I not be who I know myself to be in Christ in front of everyone I meet?
When Paul said that he would be all things to all men, (1 Cor. 9:22) he did not mean that he would behave differently in front of some individuals than he would others, there was no acting in this man, he owned no mask. His statement was to bring all men that he possibly could to the throne of grace, I will not attempt to deceive anyone, they must see Christ, not me, and so no feigning can be allowed. We must listen as well as we speak, he was saying, they do not know the truth, we do, we must go to where they are without losing our integrity, and that integrity never wears a mask.
Hypocrites are those people who wear the mask of Jesus, they perform all the right deeds, their words sound correct, they even know large parts of the Scriptures, but they do not possess that which the born-again believer has, they do not live as Christ did, they do not live by faith. These are those who will hear “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:23) After they say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22) They have had the mask on for so long that they have learned to not even recognize the deceitful lives they have been living. If I was to be me all the time, no one would speak to me, but if I have faith in Christ, if I live a life devoid of self and allow the Savior to guide my every step, then it is not I that lives, but Christ in me.
I still own several masks, the difference is I know when I have put them on, and when that realization occurs to me, I throw it at the feet of the Lord and ask Him to destroy it. As for the mask that you thought this letter was going to be about, no my friends, one will not be placed upon me unless it is by force, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) That means that I know the truth, and that truth has set me free.