Today is Halloween. For 17 years, it was our tradition to go down to Momma’s house in Hollywood to take our children trick-or-treating. It started with Brock . . . two years later adding Jenna . . . four years later adding Katie . . . and two years later the Tank. Grandma couldn’t wait to see the kids dressed up in their costumes and walk with them to the neighbor’s homes. Grandma loved her grandchildren so very much, and she delighted in showing them off to her friends. There’s an ache in my heart as I write that we won’t be making our annual pilgrimage anymore; God called Momma home last December.
As a pastor, I am reminded often about the brevity of life. Today the reminder comes from within my family. I know there are godly men and women who disagree, but I see nothing wrong with dressing up and having a little family fun on Halloween . . . but remember to remove the mask at the end of the day! Life is way too short to go around pretending to be someone we are not.
- Sometimes we pretend because we want to protect ourselves.
- Sometimes we pretend because we want to promote ourselves.
- Sometimes we pretend because we want to please ourselves.
- Sometimes we pretend because we want to prove ourselves.
But this is not for you! As a child of the Most High God, we have a better way of living than pretending to be someone we are not. We don’t need to hide behind any mask, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We don’t need to pretend to be someone we are not, because of the One who loved us enough to lay His life down and save us from our sins. A true friend will always accept you for who you are, not what you pretend to be . . . and Scripture assures us that Jesus is the Friend who will stick closer to us than a brother.
Think about this for a moment: God knew exactly what you were—a sinner in need of a Savior—and He sent His Son to die on a cross for you so that you can be with God for eternity. God came after you when you were on the run from Him; He loved you when you loved only yourself. Remember, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God did not leave them in their sin; He went after them! He sought them, caught them, and bought them . . . and He has done the same for you.
If you find yourself wearing a mask after today, take it off and be exactly who you are. Life is way too short to hide behind a mask, and God is quite fond of you just the way you are! The truth is, behind every perfect mask is an imperfect, messed up life that God is in the process of forming into a masterpiece. And if you have trusted in the work Christ did on your behalf, beloved, that process is going on inside of you!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!