We have been looking at Romans 12 in a newer translation called The Voice. And when in Rome, do as the Romans. :)
Let's pick back up in verse 9:
Love others well and don't hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil and pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor each other by putting others first.
This brings us back to the masks we spoke of at the Conference. Did you relate to the mask? Have you been evaluating areas of your life to see if you put on masks? Why would we put on maks anyway? Maybe to hide something...maybe to portray something as if it is something it's not...maybe to avoid something? Whatever it is, women are good at putting on masks. But as we read here, we are not to put on masks, we are to love each other authentically as sisters, and we are to live in devotion to each other.
Are you living authentically? Without masks? Are you living in devotion to your Destiny Friends?
Verse 11 continues:
11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer.
We can't let up!! Plain and simple! We should be bubbling up and on fire for the things of God. THAT is becoming!! We need to hold each other up through the tough times because we know we have a hope in Christ and its just around the corner. Have you noticed how if you know when something hard is going to end, you can stick it out? If you are working out and you know you will be done climbing that stairclimber in 5 minutes, as tired as you are, you can stick it out since you have an end in sight. The same goes for the tough times in our lives. And despite the fact that we don't know when exactly tough times will end, we do know they will end and hope is around the corner - so encourage each other through those hard times.
And finally, verse 13 says this:
13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others, even if they are outside your faith family.
"Even if they are outside your faith family" - wow!! As we are becoming more like Christ, we need to be there for our faith family and open our lives and homes to those outside our faith family.
For some of us, it's easier to be kind to those within our faith family because they are more like us. And for some of us, it's easier to have compassion for those outside our faith family because we have lower expectations for what kind of person they will be.
Are you looking for ways to "be Jesus" to those bith inside and outside your faith family? Are you compassionate to both? Are you accepting of both? Are you non-judgmental to both?
Remember, you are influencing those in your life - even if you don't think you are. You ARE!! This week, look for a way to reach out to someone that is more difficult for you to reach out to. Maybe a coworker who is not a believer, maybe a parent who seems to never let up, maybe a child who let you down, maybe a friend who made a mistake. Reach out, honor God by honoring them and put them first. Seek to reconcile instead of seeking revenge.
Live and love authentically as you are becoming!!
Thanks for being you-
Growing up in New Orleans and now living just outside of that wonderful city, I've been to my fair share of Mardi Gras parades...but I've actually never been to a Mardi Gras Ball. Have you? The decked out kind? The ones where there are purple, green, and golden decorations enveloping the ballroom...the lights are dim and there's amazing music playing in the background...all the men are dashingly handsome in their black and white tuxedos and the women are gorgeous and dressed in their most elegant ball-gowns. Have you been to one?
Some of the most famous Mardi Gras symbols are theater masks, you know, the happy face and sad face masks that go hand in hand? Add the masks to the ball and you have...Tadaah...a Masquerade Ball. And one of my favorite scenes in a movie is in Phantom of the Opera during the performance of "Masquerade." The music is so grande, especially on surround sound...the costumes are so elaborate, so amazing...and the masks - oh the masks. Have you seen it? Have you heard the song? Have you read the words? I can hear it in my head...
(just FYI, I'm editing out some of the lyrics)
Paper faces on parade.
Hide your face, so the world will never find you!
Every face a different shade.
Look around -
mask behind you!
I know you know where I'm going with this, don't you? We all wear some kind of mask at some point in our lives, and maybe multiple masks at many different times. The paper masks mentioned above serve so many purposes, don't they? We hide behind something so simple, so easily destroyed, yet sometimes so hard to take off. We put on a different mask of different shades hoping nobody will ever see who we really are...and yet we see there's another mask behind us...someone else who doesn't want to reveal their true identity.
Take your fill -
let the spectacle
Stop and stare
at the sea of smiles
"Grinning yellows, spinning reds.Take your fill - let the spectacle astound you!" We can be so impressed with and so distracted by all the different masks we see and even the ones we wear. "Burning glances, turning heads. Stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you!" WHAT IS REAL ANYMORE?! We can't see what's behind a mask...not the one we are looking at on someone else ...... and not behind the one we see when we look into the mirror. "Burning glances...stare at the sea of smiles around you!" A sea of FAKE! Whose smile is real, and who is hiding a burning glance?! Who are you hiding your burning glance from?! Who are you faking out?
You can fool
any friend who
ever knew you!
Run and hide -
but a face will
still pursue you
Shadows, lies...you can fool anyone! Have you gotten so good at wearing your mask that you can fool any friend who ever knew you? Are you so good that you can fool yourself?! We can run and try to hide, but the option to put on the mask is still there. It's a daily effort to keep from wearing a mask. It's easier to put one on and go.
How many of us use those masks instead of revealing our true selves to others. We would rather hide behind a façade, put on a mask, focus on what others want and expect from us, instead of looking to God and His word for how HE views us and who HE created us to be! As one author said, “self-understanding leads to the fulfillment of your God-given destiny. Discerning your true self is inextricably related to discerning God’s purposes for you. Paradoxically, the more you become like Christ, the more you become authentically yourself.” After all, we WERE created in His image!
Really…the mask is easy! Did you get that? The M-A-S-K is E-A-S-Y!!!
It’s the journey to uncover what’s behind the mask that is hard. Are you willing to journey? Are you willing to uncover what you've been hiding behind and who you've been hiding?
We can't control if and when others wear a mask. We can't control how many insincere people cross our paths. We can't force someone to take off their mask. We can only control if we wear a mask! If we’re going to claim to trust God, then we need to trust what His word says about us. And He says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
I hope you will accept the challenge of beginning the journey to uncovering or rediscovering the authentic, beautiful, unique woman that God created when He so diligently created you!
Thanks for being you ....
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