Jeff Long: Take off the mask
I often hear people saying, “You need to take off your mask and just be yourself.” Myself as well as most of you have at one time put on a “mask” to fit in and/or be accepted by others. Most of the time it’s for our own acceptance and not of those we think we are fooling.
A mask is something used to disguise one’s true identity, motives, character, etc … (Webster’s Dictionary) Some people wear a mask for their jobs; actors, entertainers, etc. to change characters; other jobs like hockey goalies, baseball catchers, firefighters, doctors and nurses, etc. .. these alter from the normal definition being that they are for protection.
Many characters in the Bible wore “masks” as well. Adam and Eve hid from God after eating the forbidden fruit, Gen. 3:8. They tried to “mask” their disobedience by hiding but were caught anyway (Gen. 3:10). In Genesis 27 we are told how Jacob disguised himself as his older brother (Esau, firstborn son) in order to receive Esau’s blessing from their father, Isaac. His mother helped him by putting goat’s skins on his arms and chest so that he’d be hairy as was Esau. This trickery worked until Esau came to his father to receive his blessing, which Isaac had already given to his brother, Jacob.
In I Kings 14, we learn of Jeroboam’s wife disguising herself seeking wisdom from a prophet, , Ahijah about their son, Abijah who had become ill. This “mask” failed because God had already told Ahijah of her coming.
In the New Testament Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we are told about Judas betraying Jesus for money (Matt. 26:14-16). He tried to hide this (mask) but was confronted by Jesus (Matt. 26:25) and caught. The final result, he hanged himself out of shame and remorse (Matt. 27:1-5). Therefore this attempt to “mask” his actions failed. Another in the Gospels is Peter. Jesus told him that he (Peter) would deny knowing him (Jesus) three times, which he did (Matt. 26:69-75). His “mask” was pretending not to know Jesus for fear of the consequences.
I think you get my point: seems everyone uses some sort of “mask” at various times with not so appealing results most of the time.
We have seen “masks” to hide from wrong doings, change our physical appearances, for use in trickeries and also just to hide from our fears. These “masks” we use are mainly for ourselves, for they seldom work for long periods of time on our friends and/or the ones we are disguising ourselves from. Only masks used for our jobs seem to do the task rendered for.
Good news: God accepts everyone, whatever condition you are and/or have been in. John 3:16, a very popular as well as powerful verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Key word: whosoever, defined as any person or persons (Webster’s). That’s a good thing because in Ecc. 12:14 we are told, “For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” So our masks won’t do us any good in the end; you’ll still be judged by the ultimate and only true judge, one you can’t hide (mask) anything from.
There’s one more type of “mask,” it acts more like a filter; example, welder’s mask. This mask filters things that are not acceptable at certain times. For a welder it’s when the electrical arc is being struck. In religion this filter (mask) screens the physical appearances of the Trinity (God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit), as well of the splendor of Heaven. This filter is promised to be removed in Isaiah 40:5: “And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
So why not take the “mask(s)” off now and trust in the words of the Holy Bible. Ask God to forgive your sins, believe in Jesus Christ, his crucifixion and 3rd day rising from death. Then you can live this awesome life now and for eternity.
God bless all!