I recently read a wonderful article on masks that we wear and how God in His grace removes our masks so that we can finally be free to be ourselves before Him and others. I especially loved how the article explains faith as the result of, not the cause of, Jesus' presence with us. I love that!
What a relief that I don't have to have some great faith to 'get' Him to come help me. He is already here and makes His presence known, in all His love and power and acceptance, and that causes my faith to just leap up unconsciously and effortlessly! This is so freeing for someone who has always felt she has 'weak faith'..
What matters is not the strength of my faith but the presence of my Lord. Yes! He is here, and He can do anything, WILL do everything for me. This brings sweet relief and rest to my soul. It frees me and makes my masks (of trying to look like a good Christian or a faith-filled person) just fall away so I can just be myself - naked, humble, childlike, helpless yet LOVED and BEAUTIFUL, even HONORED and PRECIOUS in His sight! So I can feel confident in His presence, confident that I'm welcomed, embraced and have Someone who will take care of all my needs, so I can bring any and all concerns before Him and know that He will handle them and be all I need for those situations.
The author of the article, Gregg Gibbons, has graciously allowed me to post the article here. You can find other grace writings by Gregg on his website, Christ My Heart. Here is the article:
When I sensed God was calling me into discipleship ministry, it was out of a deep desire He gave me to simply be genuine in sharing His truths.
For you see, God had begun showing me masks I was hiding behind because I didn't know the truth of who He had made me to be in Christ. And I came to realize that masks are heavy burdens to try to keep up for so long.
I hope this encourages you. And I am delighted to share with you my first poem that I believe Christ wrote from my heart this past Saturday (see below).
THE WORD GENUINE IN THE BIBLE
There are three Greek words in New Testament manuscripts that provide wonderful insights into the word genuine.
Anuopkritos means "without hypocrisy" or "without masks." Romans 12:9 uses this word to describe a "genuine love" that is from God who is love.
Gnesios means "natural" or "legitimately born." Philippians 2:20 uses this word to describe Timothy's "genuine concern" for the Philippians because it was a natural expression of his heart that had been legitimately born by the Spirit.
Dokimos means "to be tested and proved to be true." This word is used in 1 Corinthians 11:19 to encourage the Corinthians that their faith will be proved genuine while the faith of factions among them would not.
THE FREEDOM OF NO MASKS
Being genuine means no masks for your words. You are free to speak from your heart while speaking with love and wisdom. You are free to grapple with finding the right words. You are even free to be misunderstood.
Being genuine means no masks for your feelings as a way to cope with pain. You are free to feel and heal in the presence of God. Through the genuine life of Christ in you, you are free to pour out your feelings to God in your personal Gardens of Gethsemane.
Being genuine means no masks for your identity. Receive God's words telling you who He has made you to be in Christ. Apart from your personal embrace of these truths, you will be tempted to identify yourself with a Christianized version of a mask. You are free to receive biblical truths by faith even when feelings don't line up.
THE REMOVER OF MASKS
It is not our responsibility to remove our masks! This is such a wonderful revelation to me because I have tried so long and hard to be genuine!
Think about the blind men Jesus healed. The faith of these men did not cause Jesus to come to heal them. The presence of Christ led to their faith. When they heard Jesus was in their presence, they cried out to him. Jesus then healed them of their blindness. Beautiful!
This blindness is a picture of masks. We cannot see truth with masks. Masks represent lies. However, whenever by God's grace we know the presence of Christ in us, we can call out to Him by faith, and He removes our masks!
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden (including being heavy-laden with masks), and I will give you rest (including taking away our masks).
Learning to rest in truth with you,
by Gregg Gibbons
Honestly, I didn't know it was a mask.
I really thought it was just me.
But the more I tried on other masks,
I began to ask, "How could this be?"
Then one day by God's grace,
He touched my eyes so I could see.
He showed me His Son's genuine face,
And it was then God began introducing me to me.
For you see only God knows who I really am.
He united me with His Son so true.
Now it's from His life I am what I am,
And I'm growing in Him forever new.
Oh I still cling to some masks of old,
And they feel more unfitting as the days go by.
But it's not up to me to release their hold,
I just look to my Lord who sees me eye to eye.
There's power in His eyes, His loving gaze upon me,
That nurtures my new heart with a hope so sure,
And removes my masks to reveal I am free
To relate to Him, a life real and pure.