Limited only by imagination, children explore strange new worlds as they cultivate the art of pretense. A mask, a cape, or even some sort of inanimate prop can launch the mind of a child into a marvelous adventure of make-believe.
But, to borrow the language of the apostle Paul, there is a time to put “away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11). Strange and alarming glances are cast in the direction of those choosing to live in a fantasy world without the accompaniment of children to explain their behavior.
Highly visible and in the forefront of our thinking these days, are masks worn for personal protection. But, there are others masks people wear—just not the overly conspicuous ones we donned in childhood.
Because a mask is a covering that conceals true identity, the masks we wear as adults often take on a sinister nature. We want to appear better than we are and so we pretend to be something we are not.
Satan is a master-deceiver (Jn. 8:44). He pretended to be interested in Eve’s best interests; but he was only interested in the downfall of the human race (Gen. 3:1-5). Paul warns that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). The deception he perpetrates on the world through his servants is no harmless game of “trick or treat”!
Similarly, Jesus had nothing good to say about those who merely play the part of being His follower while inwardly consumed by baser motives (Mt. 15:8). He warned against “practicing your righteousness” to be noticed by men (Mt. 6:1). A religiously-oriented theatrical production carries no weight before the throne of God.
God sees through every pretense—every hypocrisy. We may be able to deceive others; but we can never fool the One who “is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hb. 4:12). Limited as we are by our fleshly nature, we are prone to make judgments based on appearance. But, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). So, let ours be a sincere, heartfelt obedience to the word of God (Rm. 6:17). No masks. No pretenses. Just “open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hb. 4:13).