“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Why a mask?
What is the purpose of covering up?
Something is begging to be hidden from view…
The first time we see a picture of this is in the first two verses of the Bible… seriously, let’s take a look:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” (Genesis 1:1-2a.)
God recognizes the first mask, the darkness, and chooses to set into motion one the most beautiful and powerful themes of Scripture… the supernatural act of unveiling.
“God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4).
Our Father is the bringer of light. Light casts out the darkness. One of my friends shared this amazing quote with me just yesterday: “Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful,” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). God says you are lovely… He sees you and your truest self, and calls you beautiful.
Do we even realize anymore the many masks that we choose to wear from day to day?
Have they become so “comfortable” that we would rather the world see our façade rather than the underlying beauty that Jesus sees?
Did you know that Jesus desires to know you? Check it out:
“You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.” (Song of Songs 4:9)
The speaker here is Jesus, speaking to His Bride, the church. He says “I want to see you, your face, your gaze steals my heart.” The Creator of the universe wants us to lift our eyes to Him (Isaiah 40:26) so that He can see us face to face. He is proud of His creation. He is proud of you.
Here is another awesome picture of unveiling:
“Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9: 1-6)
We know the rest of the story… Saul becomes Paul, who becomes a passionate leader and catalyst for the spread of the Good News around the world! He is transformed.
Like Saul, God desires to De-Mask-Us. The light of His love shines through the darkness of concealment and causes the mask to fall away.
Recently, I was listening to a message from Dr. Brian Simmons, a brilliant linguist and translator of the Word. He is in the process of translating books of the Bible back into the original Aramaic, the spoken language of Jesus. He talks about this concept of mask-removal and shares this insight:
Acts 10:34 says “God is not a respecter of persons.” The word “persons” comes from the word ‘prosōpolēmptēs’ which means “to remove the face.” So, we could read this text as “God is not a respecter of masks.”
God is in the business of tearing veils, as we see in the temple when Christ is crucified (Matthew 27:1). God has made a way for us to enter into Holy intimacy with Him, and as we do that… we begin to look radiant and glorious. The opposite of “hiding” is “revealing” or “revelation.” Allow Him to bring revelation into your life about your identity and who He says you are! Invite God to help you identify the walls, masks, and façades you may be using to hide yourself… and then give them up. Surrender your mask to our most loving, compassionate, and merciful Father.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate (reflect) 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).