PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• One of my clients is planning their annual Awards Banquet. This year’s theme is masquerade and I am super excited about it! I’ll be designing the presentation and it’s such a fun theme to work with… It makes me think of New Orleans Mardi Gras masks and the song “Masquerade” from “The Phantom of the Opera.”
With masks on my mind, I thought today we could talks about the figurative masks we tend to wear and how it impacts our work for the Kingdom.
It’s no secret that we all tend to hide behind some kind of mask. An obvious example is dating. When we’re dating, we put our best foot forward, not wanting the the person we date to see or know about all the bad habits we have.
I admit, I wore a mask when my husband and I first met. Knowing early on that he enjoyed camping and ATV riding, I donned the mask of “oh how much fun that sounds!” We joke about it now because the mask has definitely come off on that one… our 8th wedding anniversary is next week and I assure you—I’ve never gone camping with him or ATV riding because EW! Bugs!
The thing is, we often wear these masks at church. We don’t like to admit our faults, insecurities, or even our brokenness. It feels easier to plaster on a smile and go through the motions that all is right and good in our Iives. But behind the masks, marriages are struggling, money is tight, children are making bad decisions, health is declining, etc. In fairness to keeping those masks on, the church hasn’t always been the best at supporting the hurt and broken.
We can pray for healing and bake casseroles all day long, but dealing with broken hearts, depression, and discouragement—the church doesn’t always feel like the safe haven it ought to be. After all, the church is made up of people and people aren’t perfect. We hurt each other. Not deliberately but because we are flawed. But when we feel like we have to hide from all that hurts us, how can we be effective workers for the church?
Let’s go to 2 Timothy 2:15. It says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (ESV).
That verse comes from a passage that Paul wrote about being a worker approved by God. The full passage is 2 Timothy 2:14-26. The passage explains what sinful behaviors we should avoid, i.e., gossip, slander, controversies, quarrels, etc. The full passage tells us we should pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. And I really like verse 21, which says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (ESV).
My key takeaway from this is that when we dedicate ourselves to pursuing the Fruit of the Spirit, diligently seeking to honor God in all we say and do, the mask is pointless. We won’t even feel compelled to reach for it. We can present ourselves exactly as we are—all the hurts, disappointments, brokenness. Because it won’t matter what the world thinks. We will be comfortable in exactly who we are because of Whose we are.
When we pursue godliness, because we genuinely want God’s will above our own, we can confidently go before the Throne of Grace trusting that God knows our flaws and can still use us anyway. Dare I say it? He can even use our deepest scars to His purpose and glory, equipping is to be the compassionate, loving support we need to be as the Church of Christ.
Today, as you pray, thank God that He loves us and can use us despite our imperfections and hurts. Thank Him that His plans are always bigger than our pain. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you remove your figurative mask, to seek God’s will above your own, and be a worker who can shine for Christ, even with your imperfections.