Stop pretending, God sees our real selves

Published 5:44 pm Friday, November 7, 2014

Included in the events at our recent fall festival was a costume contest.  There was nothing scary or inappropriate about what our contestants wore or did, just a group of energetic kids and a few brave (and perhaps borderline insane!) adults entertaining everyone with their creative attire.

The contest included Madeline as a beautiful lookalike of Dorothy from the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, carrying her little dog, Toto, in a basket.   There was also Jaleah dressed as a firefighter in bright red, and Addyson as a little cow girl with her impressive pink hat, along with a variety of other characters.  I even got in on the competition with my rendition of Uncle Si Robertson, but failed to impress the judges enough to win the first place prize!

Everyone had an enjoyable time, but we understood that the people behind the costumes were only pretending to be someone else; they never ceased to be who they really are.

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Thankfully most people in their right minds would not go around dressed like another person or character, but sadly there are many who go through the motions in church pretending to be close to God while their hearts are far from Him.  Christ wasted no words in exposing this condition among the religious leaders of His day as He boldly declared in Matthew 23:27-28:  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”  (New International Version).

Those are hard words, yet He was able to speak them with authority because He could see through the surface and identify their true nature.

We must never forget that He is still able to see who and what we really are today and He desires for us to conduct our lives with authenticity and purity of heart.

There are also those who hide behind a big smile in an attempt to present themselves as happy and confident, even though they are all emotionally broken up on the inside.  Perhaps many of us have found ourselves utilizing that method of spiritual and emotional pretending at some time in life.  But hopefully we have also discovered that God and His Word point us to a genuine walk with Him that produces genuine joy that continues to be valid even when we experience the most trying times of life.  Romans 15:13 gives a powerful reminder of what we can trust God to provide for our spiritual well being:  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It is possible to become an expert at convincing others that we are completely content with our lives as we are, while at the same time we hide behind a veil of pretending.  Yet we can never deceive God with our appearances of confidence and satisfaction, for He sees beneath the surface and is able to look into the depths of our hearts.  The good news is that He not only sees deep within us, He is absolutely able to help us in areas where we cannot help ourselves.