The Art of Appearances

Everywhere we look, we see faces. Faces of anger, sadness, frustration, and contempt, but also faces of joy, laughter, kindness, and hospitality.

Think about how you leave the house in the morning. What kind of face do you put on? I know that some days are rough, but I think it’s safe to say that we all want to have the appearance of being put together and look the best that we can. We want to put our best face on for the world to see, even if it’s fake.

The truth is that right now I’m trying to think of the most perfect way to string all of these words together, because I refuse to put anything less than my best out in writing for the whole world to be able to see.

I’m afraid that all too often many of these faces we see every day are hiding behind masks.

I’ve been hiding behind the mask of fear of letting God (and His people) down. I’ve been trying to write this blog post for nearly a week, and I just told Jennifer about it today, because I didn’t think it was good enough to even mention.

As Christians, we can hide behind a lot of masks– fear, shame, anger, jealousy, unforgiveness, hatred…the list could go on for a while, but hiding Christianity behind any mask exhibits hypocrisy. 

Who are you when no one’s looking?

There are a lot of people in today’s world who claim to be Christians but support the things God hates. There are also a lot of members of the church who are really just pew-fillers, going through the motions. There are a lot of people on this planet who wear the name “Christian” but do not reflect Christ whatsoever.

We’ve been warned about appearances. After a long list of sins, 2 Timothy 3:5 says, “…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

These are the most obvious examples of this verse that we see displayed in people’s “faces,” or appearances, today. But it goes deeper. This verse calls out our hypocrisy as Christians too. We may think that we are doing most things right, but if we don’t trust God even in the small details of our lives, we make our Christianity hypocritical.

You can’t say you follow God when one aspect of your life consistently represents the adversary.

Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Although, as Christians, we have God’s grace, we still have to do our part. We can’t just lay down and expect God to be gracious to us when we’ve disobeyed everything He’s told us to do. We can’t live lives as the old man and expect God to view us as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You can’t say you love God and not trust Him to work in the situation you’re facing.

Psalm 112 is written about the righteous man who fears the Lord. Verses 7 and 8b say, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid…” As children of the Lord, we must align our hearts to God and His Word and completely submit to and trust it. In life, you will face hard things and difficult situations; however, trusting in God should be your first line of defense, not your last resort.

You can’t claim to be a Christian when you are constantly doubting God’s power.

Believing in God means believing in what He can do. The Almighty God loved you enough to give you life, and you can be confident that He will work in your life to grow you spiritually. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

True Christianity is not merely sitting in a pew and checking off a worship service attendance chart. It’s about being a bearer of Christ’s light to the whole world. True Christianity is not made up of actors wearing masks, but of real people who sin and wholeheartedly rely on God for forgiveness and guidance along the right path.

Let’s take off our masks and be vulnerable with our God and each other more often, and let’s not confine our Christianity to appearances. Let’s strive to reflect Christ so vividly, that our lights can’t help but shine through, no matter how we’re feeling.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16

Anna Hudson
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