“With unveiled faces we can see and reflect God’s glory.”
See 2 Corinthians 3:18
Some years ago, when the Holy Spirit kept on pestering me about becoming who He wanted me to be–on the outside–I had on many masks. Although my spirit was perfect because of my faith in Jesus, as is every Christian’s spirit (see Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:22), I still wore masks which covered up this perfection.
I had on tightly, many masks:
- A Do not disturb my life, I’m busy Mask
- A Clean-cut, fake, social media Mask (Boy, did that one come smashing to the ground.)
- I’m a successful business owner, so look to me for advice on success, I know it all Mask
- I don’t want to take this Christian thing too far and be weird Mask
- What will people think of me if I start my own ministry? Mask
- Codependent, closet alcoholic who is in severe denial Mask
- I better be good and start doing more for God or else I’m going to hell! Mask
- Deep fear of loved ones hurting me Mask
- Deep anger for never being appreciated Mask
- If I don’t get the approval of EVERYONE, I’m not good enough Mask
On and on, I wore many masks as a Christian. God, however, wanted to remove my masks–ALL OF THEM–even to the point of severe discomfort. Removing our masks exposes us, and that’s where the uneasiness begins. “Am I REALLY not like this?”
So just why would God want to do such a thing (expose us) if it causes us so much pain? Because those masks aren’t our real identity, Jesus is! Those stupid masks actually restrain Christ from living through us, fully!
Further, Jesus wore no masks, He was completely transparent. This is why we’ve never read about Him being afraid, or frustrated trying defending Himself–and also, why He was so loving. It’s because He knew who He really was! God wants us to live the same way!
As a creation who is spiritually perfect on the inside, yet at the same time, we have flesh (which can still sin), and a mind (which is constantly growing in maturity towards our spiritual perfection), we can start to become transparent like Jesus by separating our “who” from our “do.”
Our who is “spiritually perfect child of God” (see John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5, Hebrews 10:10,14). Our do is our actions. In order to separate these two it will require severe humility because we have to learn that our identity is separate from our actions. But once we stop confusing our who with our do (or intermingling them) we can finally drop the masks we wear each day, therefore, exposing Christ in us.
Every time we are tempted to raise a mask back up to our faces, in order to get back on track with our true identity in Christ, we must refocus on who we really are in our spirits! (Remember, in our spirits, we are perfect children of God). This is why Paul said, “When we remove the veil (a mask) from our faces we can understand the glory of Christ within us!” (See 2 Corinthians 3:18). If you are having difficulty understanding what the glory of Christ within you means, this might help:
Let’s say you are walking along a country road and you glance over at a farm with a barn out front. There are some animals grazing, horses, cows, goats, and you also notice some chickens pecking at the ground–but suddenly you stop dead in your tracks. You squint your eyes and are taken back as you witness a huge, beautiful bald eagle walking around with those chickens, and it’s pecking at the ground too! Bamboozled, you say, “What in the world?! That eagle is acting like it’s a chicken! Why would it be doing such a thing?!” The only logical conclusion would be that it has forgotten that it is an eagle! Freaked out, you even run over towards it, trying to make it fly away–but nope! It scampers off with the rest of the chickens!
That bald eagle has lost sight of its true identity, but its actions doesn’t make it not a bald eagle! God did not create this majestic bird to be down on the ground messing with these weak, small-minded chickens! IT WAS MADE TO SOAR! IT WAS MADE TO SEE THE COUNTRYSIDE FROM THE AIR! IT WAS MADE TO BE THE MOST REGAL BIRD ON THE PLANET!…But, some how, some way, it has lost sight of who it really is.
Who knows, maybe it was raised by one of those little KFC critters, so it has never known that it actually is an eagle. Or maybe, the chickens had a meeting with the eagle, and convinced it that it’s not really an eagle after all! Do you know any chickens like that?! FRIEND, YOU ARE AN EAGLE! YOU ARE AN EAGLE! NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY, YOU WERE MADE TO FLY HIGH IN CHRIST! As a believer, He is your identity!
We must come to our senses and begin to realize the perfection which comes from within! Christ Himself! HE HAS MADE US HOLY, FOREVER–PAST TENSE! Your spirit is perfect just like Him! (See Hebrews 10:10). This supernatural epiphany will only happen when we shift the focus off of our behavior and attitudes, and onto our identity in Him!
The changing of incorrect behaviors and attitudes is simply a byproduct of finally understanding our true spiritual perfection. This shift in our thinking and choices will never happen organically until we begin to remove “fleshly masks” and “unrenewed mindset masks” which do not match up with our spiritual identity in Christ.
Do you not realize that you, as a Christian, are not close to Christ or following Him? I know these are very popular sayings, and even I have used them many times, but God has given me a deeper revelation of our relationship with Him as I’ve grown in the knowledge of His grace. Trying to be “closer” to God, or attempting to “follow” Him, is pre-Jesus-thinking. That is a mindset of effort, which was before the Cross. As New Covenant believers, it doesn’t work like that any longer–we’ve become one with Jesus, which is so much better! (See 1 Corinthians 6:17).
This is why Jesus told His disciples to follow Him, and David kept asking God to come close (see Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17, Psalm 34:18, 74:28). But as for us, on this side of the Cross, we have a better deal! We have a better covenant! We are actually hidden inside of Jesus! We’ve been placed into Him, FOREVER, ONCE, BY GRACE, THROUGH FAITH! (See Colossians 3:3, Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 1:13, 2:8-9).
Understanding this truth despite any of our incorrect attitudes and actions (which do not match up with His perfection in us) requires a lot of humility. “God, how are you still with me?! HOW?! I keep messing up!” Or on the flip-side, “God, how are my countless good works not earning me anything with you?! HOW?!”
This notion of God staying faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him, is the gospel! (See 2 Timothy 2:13). The gospel is based on a promise between the Father and Son–not us. We are simply the beneficiaries to that contract. We didn’t create it, and we can’t sustain it, so we simply say, “Thank you!” and enjoy it, as we know that we will stay saved as long as Jesus lives! (See Hebrews 6:16-20, 7:25).
Believing this allows us to come to the point of actually agreeing with the Holy Spirit and finally saying, “You know what? You’re right. I wasn’t made for this. I am spiritually perfect because of the Cross. I’m not supposed to be wearing these masks. God, please help me understand this more and more.”
That’s humility. That’s saying, “I agree with God when He says I’m perfect in spirit.” The wonderful news about becoming humble in this manner is that God shows grace to the humble! (See James 4:6). So when we humble ourselves to the point of saying, “Teach me who I am in you!” Christ then doles out a power from within you called grace. Grace is not simply how you are saved, but it is also how you live! Grace is a God-given power which gives you the ability to do all things through Christ, whom you are hidden inside of! (See Titus 2:11-12, Philippians 4:12-13).
Admitting that you are spiritually perfect doesn’t even feel right to say, let alone think–and that’s because as eagles we’ve been taught the opposite by the chickens. We’ve been taught so much non-gospel in our churches of, “Try harder!” “Do better!” “Be a promise keeper!” (We always fail terribly at that one because God is the only true promise keeper.) “Prove you are saved!” “Prove you are a Christian!” “Give more money to God, to get more money from God!” (As if you can buy God’s favor–what a joke!) “Act, talk, walk and be like us chickens! We know who you really are! You aren’t an eagle, you are a chicken too!” FRIENDS, WE MUST STOP BELIEVING THE LIES OF THE CHICKENS!
Instead, we must start believing the truth about our real spiritual identity! We must begin to admit the fact that we are already complete and heaven-ready, right now! Yes, at first, it almost feels like heresy, but this is the truth! This is why Jesus died–to make us just like Him–in these bodies! Paul tells the Colossians that through Christ’s body they were completely reconciled with God–not just partially, and not when they die! He even takes it further and let’s them know they are “holy, blameless, and blemish-free!” (See Colossians 1:22). What kind of chicken would say that? They wouldn’t! They are too busy messing around with stupid stuff that doesn’t matter while focusing on the ground!
BUT WE ARE EAGLES! WE LOOK UP! WE TAKE OFF! WE SOOOOOAR! We don’t shrink back! We are spiritually-perfect people who wear no masks! Our identity in Christ shines through us brightly for all the world to see!
A prayer for you: God, thank you for teaching me my identity in Christ–it has changed everything. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Please begin to reveal the difference between their WHO and DO. Give them peace, strength, and confidence as they finally begin to understand what you’ve REALLY done for them at the Cross! Help them to soar high as the eagles they are while giving them courage to begin removing their masks! In Jesus’ name, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!