“I’m so tired faking it. Can others see behind my mask? Do I dare let you in? What if I told you who I am? I long to be real.”
Trust God and others with who you really are. “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” -Shakespeare.
God has big dreams for our lives. → His dreams for you are ultimately not really about you. This stunning dream always involves others. → God’s dreams for us reflect his heart. If we are not maturing in sync with his heart, how would we distinguish others-centered dreams from self-centered dreams?
God couldn’t help us until we trusted him with who we really were. We admire people who live the TrueFaced life, but our loss of hope has found us into desperately trying to discover safety from behind our masks. In a very real sense, we are all performers. Because of sin we’ve last confidence that we will always please our audience and so we put on a mask. As an unintended result, no-one not even the people we love, ever get to see our true face.
Where mask-wearing become started? → Adam & Eve “Apple Incident” → God calls out to Adam”Where are you?” knowing very well where he is and Adam responds “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was ‘afraid’ because I was naked; so I hid myself” → There they are, the opening steps to the dance of “mask-wearing” I become ‘afraid’ because something I did or was done to me made me feel naked → And this nakedness cried out to be covered. Nothing feels more frightening or lonely than nakedness. Not knowing how to allow myself to be covered, I ‘hid’ myself. → It hides what is true about you. → that day all humanity learned how to look over our shoulders, how to glance furtively, how to say one thing and mean another, how to hide fear, deceit and shame behind a thin smile.
Mask wearers usually fall into one of three groups.
1) Living in the land of ‘doing just fine’
2) Searching for the next ‘new’ tecchnique
3) Those wearing pedigreed masks.
1) “Doing just fine” → We need to acknowledge the truth: We are not fine! → We’re hurting, lonely, confused and frightened.
→ we are convinced there is no real help for our issues and that the best thing we can do is to hide our true identities.
2) “New” technique → We go from book to book, seminar to seminar, church to church looking for the next “new” technique promising to help change us.
→ We believe that if others could spend a moment inside us they would be disgusted by what they discover.
We read about concepts and strategies that have promised to change us, but we remain unchanged.
This, hidden, pretend person disgusts us most. We marshall all of our best appearances and smile a lot.
3) Pedigreed mask → Our home, and family and hobbies are almost as perfect as we are. → we do not need help and answers, because we are those two things.
We are not vulnerable. We do not need to be, for we are self-sufficient. (Rev. 3:17) "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and i need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked."
→ We deny that we even wear a mask, but the truth about us is this; Those who know us best, wish they could tell us that, our mask is coming apart. They long to get past our mask. So that they could love us and know us and know our love, but we have kept them at such a distance that they’ve given up.
One of the really good gifts we could receive would be the ability to see where we are and how we got here. → We need to see that our controlling behavior isn’t a response to something happening in the present. It is triggered by some sin in the past that never got resolved.
A mask is only the public proof that an infection is spreading through my body. Inside me, there is a seditious, self-destructive process compelling me to hide what is really true about me. It is TIME to unmask this dark dynamic that compels me to fashion a mask.
We may try to ignore sin or STUFF it away, but through it may lie dormant for awhile, unresolved sin is always buried alive.
Nothing in us can absorb sin. Even when we are the ones, being sinned against, we still cannot handle sin, because sin done to us will always ignite the nature of sin already in us. So, we give ourselves permission to act out sinfully. *Sin does not play fair.
→ Good news is we can stop the damage at any time by applying God’s resources and power to resolve that sin.
*Six of the many damaging behaviors resulting from UNRESOLVED sin.
1) Highly sensitized to my own sin and judge the sin of others.
2) Lose my objectivity in a crisis and I become the issue.
3) I hide my sinful behavior and became vulnerable to more sin.
4) Unable to be loved or to love.
5) Become susceptible to wrong life choices
6) Attempt to control others.
It is very expensive to wear a mask. No one not even those we love get to see our true face. → We never experience love of others because when we wear a mask, the mask receives love! Mask wearing thwarts our maturing, the very path into the dreams God intended for us. God designed release of influence this way on purpose, because immature people have an incredibly negative impact on those they influence, incredibly, negative impact on those they influence. Our mask convinces others that:
• They too must live a two-faced life
• present an idealized person
• hide what is true about them
• new life in christ doesn’t really work
• they’ll remain stuck in their unresolved life issues
• it’s better to be unknown than to risk rejection
• self protection is their only hope
When we wear mask, we teach others:
• to live in a guarded fear
• to live a life of comparison, envy and jealousy
• to trade vulnerability for the veneer of safety
We aren’t only ACTORS we are also DIRECTORS, in a HORRIBLE play.
People wear mask for many reasons.
• Fear we might not be accepted or worse that we may be viewed as unworthy of acceptance because we have ALREADY proven ourselves unacceptable.
• Fear that others won’t protect us and might leave us feeling naked and alone.
All mask wearing is a product of pretending something to be true in our lives that our experience denies. All of us need to be able to recognize our patterns of hiding.
God allows our masks to crack and chip and distort because He loves us so much. Call out to the living God “Father, can you show me a way out of this maze? It’s all I’ve ever known. I know you long for it to be different between you and me. I know you long for my life to count and for me to experience joy, hope and the dreams you have for me. I have nothing to lose but a life that wasn’t working anyway. Come reveal to me my true face, reflecting yours”
Mask-wearing is sometimes even more pronounced in Christians than in those still seeking Christ. God wants to see His reflection in our faces, but the trouble with paper-mache is that it doesn’t reflect.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost.
In the room of GRACE, everyone seems virtually alive. The people are obviously imperfect, full of compromise and struggle, but they’re authentic enough to talk about it and ask for help. Many have a level of integrity, maturity love, laughter, freedom and vitality. Our motives direct what we value and how we act. Our motives ultimately determine our actions.
Motive → Value → Action
If our primary motive is TRUSTING God we find out that He is incredibly pleased with us.
If my life motive is an unwavering determination to please God. Then my value will be striving to be all God wants me to be. And my action will be working on my sin to achieve an intimate relationship with God.
→ When we embrace the motive of pleasing God and live in the Room of Good intentions, we reduce godliness to this formula: More right behavior+ Less wrong behavior = Godliness.
→ It sets us up to fail and live in hiddenness. Once we choose the path of pleasing God, the bondage of performance persistently badgers us. Our determination to please God traps us in a formula that affixes our masks so tightly that we’ll need jackhammers to get them off!
( 1 Samuel 13:5-15) → God told Saul “To obey is better than sacrifice.” He knew Saul’s obedience would be the evidence of his trust. We have already been changed, and now we get to mature into who we already are.
• I am blessed (Ephesians 1:3) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."
• I am chosen and holy (Ephesians 1:4) "Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."
• I am adopted (Ephesians 1:5) "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will"
• I am favored (Ephesians 1:7-8) "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight."
• I am close to God (Ephesians 2:13) "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
*How can we show that we value our identity? → By trusting what he says is TRUE about us.
If you brought a caterpillar to a biologist and you asked him to analyze and describe it’s DNA, He would tell you that scientifically it is a butterfly! → God has wired into a creature that doesn’t look like a butterfly, a butterfly “identity” → Because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence it will ONE day display the behaviour and attributes of a butterfly.--> the caterpillar matures into what is already true about it.
*Why do so many people say the right thing but then live the wrong life?
We discover the room of GRACE, God reveals a breathtaking protection that brings us out of hiding. → God says “What if I tell them who they are? What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgement, or rejection? What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they’ve done. As much as I love my only son? That there’s nothing they can do to make my love go away? What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep? What if I tell them they are righteous, right now? What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me? What if I tell them I’m crazy about them. What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party? What if I tell them that if I am their saviour, they’re going to heaven no matter what- it’s a done deal? What if I tell them they have a new nature-saints, not saved sinners who should now “buck-up and be better if they were any kind of Christian, after all He’s done for you!” What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power and nature inside of them, at their disposal? What if I tell them that they don’t have to put on a mask? That it is ok to be who they are at this moment with all their junk. That they don’t need to pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much bible they read or don’t. What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get too good, the other shoe’s gonna drop? What if they knew I would never, ever use the word punish in relation to them? What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never “get back at them?” What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me? What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them? What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs? What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven? What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor? What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them? → God isn’t interested in changing you, he already has! → He wants you to believe that so that he can get on with the process of maturing you into who you already are. Trust opens the way for this process. If you don’t trust God, you can’t mature, because your focus is messed up. Effort is a response that God uses to work together with me on my sin, to mature into that person with whom he is already pleased. Effort born out of striving to please God never ceases to tire us. Effort born out of resting in His presence never ceases to renew us.
The goal is not for you to get all your “stuff” solved, you never will. There is an endless list of stuff. God is gracious to reveal only a snippet at a time. The goal is to learn to depend on-to-trust-what God says is true about you. So that together you can begin dealing with that stuff.
*I am loving more and sinning less. I am influencing people’s lives in ways that previously i could not even imagine. I am living an exhilarating life. I am living the Fathers dreams for me, His very well loved child. Trusting God’s view of me has been the most intense, most difficult and most comprehensive maturing and releasing process I have ever experienced.
• Humility attracts Grace
•Grace changes our life focus
•Grace lets God handle sin
•Grace melts masks
•Grace changes how we treat each other and our sin issues.
1) Humility requires trust. Humility believes that I can trust God to teach, direct and protect me. Humility also believes that God has provided others in my life to do the same. Humility: Trusting God and others with me. We never deserve Grace- it is always unmerited but we can invite grace into our lives, we can attract it. How? By trusting God. God gives His grace to those who trust Him. Trust, humility and grace guide us into an astonishing life. → Pride shuts grace down. I am a person already deeply pleasing to God.
2) Consider this diagram. In this life, we who have trusted Christ will always have sin issues, and we will always have the identity God gave us. They are constants. Unchanging results.
•Working on my sin issues →
•Trusting who God says I am →
^^ Which one of these two constants defines my life focus? Which offers me the hope of experiencing the other? (2nd one!)
→ trusting who God says I am lays the foundation for maturing.
How I view myself is the most revealing commentary of my theology.
• It tells me about my relationship with God
• My relationship with others
• Whether my trust is in myself or in God
• If I am maturing into Christ’s likeness.
If the only thing we recieved by Christ’s atoning death was a “get out of hell” card, then we have no hope of living a life worth living. Our life is as bleak as it was before we ever come to know Him.
Grace teaches us to trust that God can handle our sin and only God.
What if we could both stand together, looking at my sin, not for the sake of condemnation, but to solve it together? What if we took responsibility for the fact that we are the ones who sinned, and then with God at our side turn to trust His provision for the very sin that we’ve just committed? What if we truly believed we were without condemnation? What if grace was that strong?
God does not ask us to get our act together or to stop sinning so much before we can enjoy this realm (heaven).. God wants only one thing from us: God wants us to become more dependent upon Him.
We no longer see one another with our sin between us. We begin to discover that our character is actually formed in relationships. We stand in front of each other truefaced. We see one another as saints who sin, rather than as sinners who are saved. If we truly believe in our hearts that we are saints, than we’re able to stand with each other in the reality of our sin.
But if we don’t believe that, and instead view each other as sinners we will demand that others work on their sin in order to have a relationship with us. “You are a saint with some pretty deep issues that are freaking me out at this particular moment. But you are my sister/brother. I will not walk away from you.” The godly are those who trust God with themselves. PERIOD !
God’s influence system requires personal maturity. -->
• We cannot profoundly influence others without maturing.
•We cannot mature without finding resolution to our sin issues.
•We cannot find resolution to our sin issues without trusting who God says we are.
God’s dreams for us are the ultimate goal.
Working on my sin issues --> Maturing --> God’s dreams for me --> Trusting who God says I am -->
You cannot attract God’s grace with a humble heart. God designed us to influence others. When our theology gives us permission to see Christians as sinners, we give ourselves permission to reject them.
“Grace is the face that love wears, when it meets imperfection.” -Joseph R. Cooke
Love --> The 1st gift of grace, acts as a solvent to lift our masks. It acts as a balm that can begin to heal our unresolved sin so that we never want to put on a mask again. --> Those who receive this gift live in profound and sacred health..
*In God’s world, receiving love comes before giving love.
We learn how to love only when we first learn how to receive the love of God and others.
When we are ready to receive love, we will know, because we will begin to experience a process with the following steps.
• I understand I have needs
• I realize that having my need met is experiencing love.
• I freely admit that I desire to be loved.
• I choose to let you love me.
• I let you love me- on your terms, not mine.
• I am fulfilled when I have experienced love.
• I am now able to love others out of my own fulfillment.
1) A need is something required and indispensable, a must.
we see our needs as a weakness. Sin influences people to define the innate needs as weaknesses. “I don’t need you” is the language of the wounded heart.
If we see needs as weaknesses, we will hide our needs and limitations and call it self-reliance. Or we’ll pretend that we have no needs and call it independence. Or we may believe no one should ever have to meet our needs and call it strength. Or we believe that as we get “more spiritual”. We outgrow our needs. This, we say, is maturity.
Some of us confuse our needs with sin! --> Needs are not sin. He created us with needs. But sin has distorted understanding of needs.
2) Needs give us the capacity to feel loved.
--> If we deny we have needs, we will not experience love. If we withhold our needs, we can’t receive the love others have for us. And, if we don’t know love, we’ll be stuck with open wounds that will not heal.
--> And with need unmet we are truly unhappy people.
3.) Deep within each of us desires to be loved. --> Yet there’s pain and ask with love.
We convince others that we have no longing to be loved. --> I will take care of myself. I won’t get that close again. God hand wired needs into us- they don’t go away. Our castle walls don’t come down just because someone says they should. They start coming down when we admit :
1) We have needs
2) We can only experience love when our needs are met.
3) We really, really want to be loved.
4) & 5) The degree to which I let you love me, no matter how much love you have for me. That wouldn’t have been a problem, except the “let” requires trust! We cannot let another person love us unless we trust the person.
Lost in the darkness. Silence surrounds you. Once there was morning. Now endless night. If I could reach you, I’d guide you and teach you. To walk from the darkness back to the light. God won’t let us down; even when others do. --> This solid strength of trusting God-wins can’t let us down- allows us to move toward others in love despite the risk.
When the requirements of our souls- our needs are met, it satisfies us.
When we don’t know how to deal with our sin we try to hide it.
Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin, rather it means admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin. Every act of repentance depends on an act of redemption. To redeem means “to liberate by payment or to release from debt or blame.”