***Before you read this message, I need a couple of HUGE favors from you. First, I need you to purposely read this devotional slowly. It’ll allow you to absorb this truth with more clarity. Next, I’m humbly requesting that you inhale deeply . . . clear your mind . . . and remove the mask. By “mask”, I’m referring to that side of you that conceals your true identity. Visually, others behold you in a light that you know is inconsistent with who God knows you to be. It’s okay, though. There’s no need to feel condemned. Everyone has a mask. Some have multiple masks. My prayer in writing this devotional is that you’ll be transparent with yourself long enough for God to challenge you in those specific areas where you habitually fall short.***
“Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – Matthew 23:28 (NKJV)
When Jesus directed these words to the scribes and Pharisees, He was verbally boycotting the established practice of masking (or false advertising). The scribes were the official copiers of the Old Testament Scriptures. They were also teachers of the law. The Pharisees (meaning “separated ones”) were a group that emphasized Jewish traditions and prided themselves on their strict observance to every detail of Jewish law. Their extreme intolerance of pagan culture, along with the piety and patriotism they displayed, made them respected leaders among their people. These people typified mask wearing because they promoted an untrue, misleading and deceptive representation of their faith. In other words, they were guilty of false advertising. Another way of translating the above verse is “Externally, you come across as one who lives morally and is wholly conformed to the will of God. But the truth is, internally, you are overflowing with little to no virtue. You are an actor rotting on the inside because you choose to willfully operate in deceit.” Sometimes those who most loudly protest the sins of others are secretly guilty of those same sins . . . or even worse ones.
What about you? When people see you, is what they see what they get? What’s that sin that seems to get you every time? As Christians, we must be very careful not to hide the Christ we proclaim behind a lifestyle that is unworthy of Him. Only to the extent that we reveal the character of Christ in our own lives, shall we be able to touch people’s hearts with our words & actions. We must reject being false advertisements of God’s goodness. Sincerely believing He is alive, but intentionally (or unintentionally) living like He is dead clearly illustrates what false advertising looks like in the life of a Christian. None of us have the right to abuse the liberty of Christ by using freewill to justify ungodly actions. Today, the God of Creation is pleading with you to walk upright before Him in ALL areas of your life.
As living exhibitions representing a message greater than our own, our heart’s desire should be to live in such a way that the Christ we advertise in our lifestyle truly matches up with the Christ that lives in us. I want to close with 6 self-examining questions to gauge where you are in avoiding the regret that comes with falsely advertising our God:
*Are you waiting for someone to come to you and make things right?
*Have you secretly celebrated someone’s failure?
*Do you have anything going on that you hope no one discovers?
*Have you recently lied to someone?
*Are there people, problems or questions you’ve been avoiding?
*Who are you mad at?
“When you live in a country where even the most pagan believe to have some relationship with God, strong words must be spoken.” – Paul Washer