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Pretense Leads to Burnout

Sooner or later most of us will encounter a Christian who is wearing a mask. We find out the pious Christian we thought we knew isnt the Christ-centered person they appeared to be. It seems to happen all too often on the national news and, sadly, in our local church.

The reality is that most people wear some sort of mask. Were scared that without a facade, people will see our inadequacies. Were scared that people wont like us if they really knew us.

But, the apostle Paul reminded us in 2 Corinthians that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”

Pauls message is that we can take off our masks, when we truly accept Christ into our hearts. Not only will we experience freedom, but Paul promises we will grow steadily in the image of Christ.

Lets face it – living a life of pretense is exhausting. We can avoid the burnout and live victoriously when we stop pretending. So, stop pretending and turn to Christ for your security. Then, youll be ready to tell others of the glorious freedom you found in Christ.

Our Competence Comes from God

I have a dear friend who recently, for the first time, led a person to Christ. Hes a committed Christian and a fearless businessman, yet he had never experienced one of the greatest joys of a Christian life – sharing the Good News of eternal salvation and Gods love.

The majority of Christians never share their faith with others. A lot of people feel incompetent and nervous. We all can be nervous at times, but that doesnt mean that we should not share our faith. We can have confidence to speak out because of Jesus Christ!

The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that “confidence is ours through Christ…not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” God, through Christ, qualifies each of us to be personal evangelists.

Have you hesitated to share your faith because youre nervous or feel inadequate? My friend was able to share one of the greatest joys this side of heaven when he stopped depending on his own abilities, asked for strength from the Lord, and turned to the competence that comes only from God. Try it today.

Your Spiritual Letter of Recommendation

Most of us at some point have asked for, or perhaps written, a letter of recommendation. In the early days of the church it was common to write such letters. These letters verified that a person was a church member of good standing and was truly walking with God.

When the apostle Paul was asked by the Corinthians for such a letter, he told them that “you yourselves are our letters of recommendation, written on our hearts…not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God.” He was telling them that they were his living letter and all the recommendation that was needed.

As Paul points out, either we have handwritten approval from man, or divine approval from the Holy Spirit. Our lives show where our approval comes from. Just as a doctors reputation is the proof of his or her abilities – so the impact of our lives on the lives of others is the living proof of our relationship with Jesus.

A Spirit-filled believer doesnt have to present a Christian letter of recommendation. Everything about that person gives witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Are you living proof of Jesus? Do people see Him through your life?

The Masks We Wear

In our neighborhood, and I suspect in yours, in October the kids put on costumes and go trick-or-treating. Most kids wear the mask of their favorite comic book hero to hide their identity and hopefully get a treat.

The sad thing is that many of us adults do the same type of thing. We put on the mask of a pious Christian. We go to church on Sunday. We say all the right things. We pretend to be faithful. We pretend to be a “good Christian.”

The apostle Paul attacked this imitation of Christian living. In 2 Corinthians, he says that “unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity like men (and women) sent from God.” Paul is telling us to take off our masks. To stop trying to deceive others. To stop trying to cover up our sins.

God can see through the masquerade that keeps us from walking openly with Him. Its only when we open our hearts and allow Christ to make us the kind of people He wants us to be that we can stop pretending to be someone were not and truly let the world see Christ through us.

Working Together

Do you remember what the Lord Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion? He was going to the cross the very next day, and yet, in the Garden of Gethsemane, what did Jesus pray about? “Father,” Jesus said, “I pray for those who will believe in me, that they may be one as we are one, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”

That was the cry of the Lord Jesus – that Gods people will act, and function, as one, “so that the world may believe…”

It pleases the heart of God when Christians work well together. Its a clear message to our world that we belong to Christ. And, by teaming up with other believers, you can do great and powerful things for Jesus that you could never do alone.

So, do you have a dream of doing something big for God in your neighborhood, town, or even country? If so, remember you cant do it alone! Of course youll need Gods blessing and leading and wisdom; but youll also need fellow believers to help your dream become reality!

Were most effective when we pull together, not apart. When we work with other Christians, “as one,” the world takes notice. And the result is that many may choose to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!