Halloween will be here in just a couple of weeks. Most kids I know will be dressing up, hide behind a mask and pretend to be something that they're not, if only for a little while.
I think all of us hide behind a mask in our daily lives in one way or another. How many times has someone asked you how you are, or how your day has gone, and you answer "Fine," when really you're drowning in job and family obligations, wondering if you'll have what it takes to make it another week. What's so "fine" about that?
This week I taught a lesson for the Jr/Sr high school youth at my church on the topic of prayer. In part of the lesson, we studied The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:1-13) in the NIV and Message translations. The passage talks about how the Pharisees would be very public and showy with their prayers, but God is turned off by that kind of arrogance. Sometimes you can get a clarification of what is being said by reading more than one translation. I know that I did when I gave the lesson.
Matthew 6:6 in The Message, tells us to remove our mask and be honest before God in our prayers:
"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace."
God doesn't want us to come to him, pretending to have it all together when we're really coming undone at the seams. He wants us to come to him honestly repentant, taking off the mask of sin that hides us, and be real before him. God clothed Adam and Eve after they came out from hiding in the garden, and he will do the same for us. For if we confess our sins and stand with our heart and soul naked before God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away, and clothe us in his righteousness.
Jesus calls us his friends. Removing the mask you wear and being real with Jesus is one way you can deepen your relationship with him. Try it ... you'll like it!