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Self Control: Cost and Reward Take Off the Mask

by Levi Sisemore

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Halloween was great fun for me and my family. We dressed up as a tiger, a snowman, a little old lady, and I got to be the sheriff – complete with shiny badge and a trailer-turned-jail-cell for all the dangerous characters floating around – at the church’s Trunk or Treat event. As we handed out candy and let kids (and some adults!) pose in the trailer/jail, I saw lots of masks: Ninja Turtles, Kylo Rens, Captain Americas, Incredible Hulks, Zombies, Monsters, and Ghouls. Many of the kids walked around without their masks, but recovered their faces to ask, “Trick or treat?!”

In Exodus 34 we read of Moses acting as a messenger between God and Israel. As Moses would enter the unmitigated, glorious presence of God he was changed (lesson: one cannot truly stand before God and not be changed) and the people could see a physical manifestation of this change: “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (34:29). Initially this frightened the people, so Moses decided to mask his face with a veil, covering the change.

So when he went into the presence of God, his mask was off to bask and revel in the divine glory; when he went out to the people, the mask was on because they couldn’t handle all that God had done. They couldn’t even handle unfiltered second-hand glory.

How much God can you handle? How much holiness will you tolerate in your life? To the man who holds Christ and his church at arm’s length, he’s saying, “I can’t take too much of this God-stuff, mask it off.” Same thing goes for folks who seldom pray, who think of spiritual discipline as foolishness, or who believe they’ll be fine as “Lone Ranger Christians,” navigating life all on their own. The truth is that when we say and feel these things, we’re admitting that worldliness has a grip on us and that we’re not even trying to shake it lose.

Take off the mask. Run to God. Throw yourself into Him and His church, don’t hold back! Don’t shield yourself from God!

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end … because only through Christ is [the veil] taken away … when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the  Lord who is the Spirit.”   II Corinthians 3:12-18

 

         Levi Sisemore is minister of the 37th Street Church, Snyder, Texas

 

 




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8