Go back to the 15th Century and you will find that this was when Masquerade Balls began, people wearing masks at public events. It gave people the opportunity to pretend to be someone else, to behave and speak differently, even opening up the way for crime and lewdness. Many films feature heroes and villains in masks such as The Mask of Zorro, Darth Vader, Phantom of the Opera and Batman. Whilst it may seem ‘fun’, it is essentially deceitful. Double lives have been lived by spies, bigamists and those using social media to groom the vulnerable. To what extent would you agree that we all have lived behind masks at one time or another?
- ‘My guiding principles in life are to be honest, genuine, thoughtful and caring’ – Prince William
- ‘I find genuine humility and modesty attractive’ – Chris Evans
- ‘I get the hypocrisy thing, but any human being is allowed to have a public and private face, and celebrities should have the same rights as regular people to decide what cards they lay down and what cards they hide’ – Cindy Crawford
- ‘Masks are wonderfully paradoxical in this way: while they may hide the physical reality, they can show us how a person wants to be seen’ – Joanna Scott
- ‘We all have masks in life’ – Judd Nelson
The ‘best’ masks are the ones that can’t be seen! We may be able to fool others and perhaps even ourselves, but we cannot fool God. He is the one who searches our hearts and knows us: ‘You have searched me, Lord, and you know me’ – Psalm 139:1
God looks for us to be conformed to his own character, to be genuine, full of integrity and faithful.
- ‘Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind’ – Psalm 26:2
- ‘If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?’ - Psalm 44:20-21
Jesus had little time for those who would not be real with him: ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean’ – Matthew 23:27. He has not changed but we need to if we are living behind masks.
- ‘Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name’ – Psalm 86:11
- ‘I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh’ – Ezekiel 11:19
The Apostle Paul touches on this openness before God when he speaks of the veil that can blind us to the freedom we are called to in Christ. ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.
‘I Surrender All’ was written by American art teacher and musician Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855–1939), who subsequently became a music minister and evangelist. It was put to music by Winfield S. Weeden (1847–1908), and published in 1896.
All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me
I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all’
If you want that transformation, it comes from surrendering all the masks and all you are. There is only one that you can do this with safely, one who is for you and wants your best, one who wants you to be open with him and enjoy an unhindered relationship – God himself.
Are you ready to pray this prayer and mean it?
‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ – Psalm 139:23-24
TAGS - hypocrisy, sham, genuine, integrity, mask, masquerade