Taking Off the Disguise

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” –Luke 16:14-15

Do you wear a Christian disguise? When you are with others, do you ever perform? Do you ever feel the pressure to be someone that you are really not? To be or to act more together than you really are?

If this happens to you, know that you are not alone. I do it too.

At times, the pressures I feel and the pressures that I put on myself have resulted in my becoming a performer, or more accurately, an empty performer. I hide my flaws, fault and fears from other people and I put on a religious disguise to appear better than I really am. When I forget how much God loves me, I begin caring what other people think about me.

I do it because wearing a disguise is comfortable and easy, while being real requires vulnerability. Being real requires courage and risk.

Seeing this tendency in my own life, I asked a question on Twitter and Facebook, “In what situations do you feel the pressure to fake it or pretend to be more spiritual than you really are?” The responses were amazing:

“I feel the pressure to pretend as soon as I wake up.”

“I pretend to be someone I’m not when offering advice to others.”

“I pretend when I tell someone who just lost their job that it’s going to be okay, that you just need to have faith. I pretend to believe what I just said.”

“I fake it when my small group leader asks, ‘What have you been reading lately in the Word?'”

“I pretend all the time.”

It’s just so easy to wear the disguise.

Today is the day to take off the disguise. Trade the religious-looking you, for the real you. Don’t forget that Jesus was ticked off at the religious phonies and fakes. He called the religious “white washed tombs” because they looked good on the outside, but were dead on the inside.

While I’m not 100% disguise-free yet, here’s what I’ve learned: Jesus doesn’t want us to perform. He wants us to be real. He wants us to be the people He’s created us to be. He likes the real you and me more than He likes the fake roles we so often play. He wants us to live securely in the love that He has for us which is eternal and unconditional.

When we begin to place value on the people we really are as opposed to the disguise, we’ll become genuinely different. Not fake different. Not phony different. Not weird different. Not religiously different. But transformed different.

When the mask comes off, amazing things happens. We discover that we’re not alone. We find community in knowing others also have flaws, faults, and fears. And we find that we’re safe; not safe as in comfortable, but safe to be yourself, living for an audience of One.

GOING DEEPER:
1. Think of a time when you’ve worn a religious disguise in order to convince others you are more spiritual than you really are.

2. How does knowing that God loves you eternally and unconditionally motivate you to remove your religious disguise?

FURTHER READING:
Matthew 6:1-6; 16-18; Matthew 23:27; 1 John 5:13-19

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 1 grandchild in Southern California.

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