Ever been 5 minutes late for a very important meeting, and your car won't start? That has been my life for the past month. Yes my new Dodge Ram 1500 is on the verge of dying on me. And it's not from usage. The body is fine. The engine revs (it does, after all, have a Hemi). Here's the deal. When we bought it, we bought this security device that requires that a small black box (that fits on my key chain) has to be inside the truck for the car to start. No box, no start. Well, the battery has been dying for several months now, and it all-out gave out today. I get into my truck this morning and it would not start. To make matters worse, my wife is in Texas and my parents are out of town as well so I had absolutely no one close to call. Although my truck looked fine out the outside, it was useless. It would not start, and no matter how much I cranked it, there was nothing there to give back.
Parallel that to the Christian walk. So many of us look pretty on the outside, especially sitting in those pews Sunday morning. "Problems, no problems here. Not at this church. You must be thinking of that other church. Yeah, they've got problems." And so we live our lives struggling in our walk, questioning in our beliefs, fighting against things we aren't allowed to discuss, and doubting in our personal walk. This is amplified because we're too embarrassed to let it be known or too ashamed that we've failed in our "Christian Walk". And so the masks go on. You know, the smiles...the handshakes...the facade, All so a bunch of people that probably don't matter think that you're Godly. Put on your masks.
According to Barna Research (among MANY OTHERS) divorce is as high or higher among Christians when compared to "unchurched" people groups. Which honestly makes sense to me. Why should it be any different? We live in a sinful world, and yet while we as Christians try to live a perfect life we will never do it because we are SINFUL PEOPLE! But hey, let's just keep pretending everything is alright. No, Christians don't have faulty marriages. We don't sin. We're perfect. And so the game continues. Put on another layer of makeup. You've got some holes in your mask.
Have you ever realized how hard it is to be something you're not? The game is hard, long, frustrating, taxing. All your energy is spent creating the image of something healthy, but you still hurt on the inside. I struggle with this. Keep happy. Keep smiling. And move on. No pain here. No struggles. No doubts. No questions. No hurts. If we aren't all happy Christians, then we wouldn't be Christians right? Because it's Biblical that we all have to be perfect, happy... Uh oh, the mask is looking pretty rough. Might need to replace this one...
That's the lie, and that's the game. Sure, you'll look pretty on the outside. Deep down you're as worthless as a new truck that won't start. Looks good on the outside, but other than that, not too much. Careful, some of your true self is showing through the mask...
The funny this is that God doesn't care about the image. He never has. Which has surprised me in that so many of us struggle trying to please people that don't matter...trying to live up to pseudo-Biblical standards set by the proverbial Joneses, when they are only trying to keep up with the Smiths. But God who is only interested in a relationship gets put on the back-burner because we don't have time. We're too busy playing games and smiling faces, and feeling guilty on the inside because we're the only people playing the game. Or so we think.
If you've read this much, I encourage you to watch this video. Realize that you're not the only one playing the game. And frankly God doesn't care about the game.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. - Romans 5:1-5