There are always rules! Typically, I view rules as simply things that are meant to be bent, every now and again. Yet, there are some hard and fast rules that are never meant to be bent. Especially when it comes to being a follower of Jesus. The rules that I am speaking of are the three rules of being real with yourself, with God and with others. Follow these rules and you will successfully surrender your secrets and take off your masks. Follow these rules and you will also successfully avoid hypocrisy in your life.
Rule #1 – There is no such thing as “secular” and “sacred”. The world loves to label everything, so as to keep everything neat and tidy. Everything in its place and nothing ever leaves its place. This is the world’s perspective. Church on Sunday, sacred. Work on Monday, secular. Prayer time on Tuesday, sacred. Drinks with friends on Wednesday, secular. Bible Study on Thursday, sacred. School on Friday, secular. Volunteering at the local food pantry on Saturday, sacred. And so on. Everything neat and tidy, in its proper place with its proper label.
The problem with all of this secular and sacred labeling is that you are a follower of Jesus. Because of your faith in Jesus, God now lives inside of you, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. If God lives inside of you, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, that means that every where you go and everything you do, God is right there with you. If God is right there with you in everything that you do and every where that you go, that means that everything is sacred. For any activity and any location that is filled with the presence of God is sacred. No more secular in the reality of a follower of Jesus. For you, everything is sacred because God is with you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.
Rule #2 – Grace abounds. My bet is that one of the reasons why you are a follower of Jesus is that you desire the grace that God offers, through Jesus. Grace is a gift that none of us deserve. And grace is the very reason that God has saved us, through Jesus. None of us are good enough to earn salvation. None of us can apologize enough in order to acquire forgiveness. All any of us can do is rest in the grace of God that has been given to all of us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Grace gives us freedom, not only from sin that we commit, but also from the guilt and shame of the sin that has been assigned to us by the world and other people.
The greatest weapon that Satan will use against you are your secrets. As long as you have secrets, you must do everything in your power in order to keep them. If you are using all of your power in order to keep your secrets, you have nothing left to devote to your relationship with God or other people. If you are using all of your power in order to keep your secrets, you are not being real. If you are not being real, you are being a hypocrite. Enter grace.
Accepting the gift of grace means that you accept the truth that you cannot out-sin God’s love. You accept the truth that you are accepted by God. If you are accepted by God, you can surrender your secrets and take off your masks. For, the only reason that you have been keeping your secrets and wearing your masks, in the first place, is that you believed that other people and God would never accept you. Grace opens the door for you to be real. For you know that God has already accepted you. And what other people think of you will never have any impact on what God thinks of you. Yet, living into the truth of what God thinks of you, will forever change the way that others think of you.
Rule #3 – Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You already know that your entire life, every activity, every relationship, every hobby, is all sacred. And you have accepted the grace of God into your life. Thus, you are free from the guilt and shame of any secret that you have been holding or any mask that you have been wearing. Now you need to start living into these truths. The only way to do that is to put one foot in front of the other and take that next step. Regardless of how bad you have messed things up, your future is not dictated by your past. You can do the next right thing. Even if you have done a whole string of wrong things up to this point.
You can be so bold because of what you already know – all of your life is sacred and that grace abounds. These truths are not only applicable to your past. These truths are applicable right here, right now. This is your truth, forevermore. That means that even if you mess up, you are covered by grace and the presence of God in your life. No more fear. No more guilt. No more shame. No more secrets. No more masks. Just you, being real with God and with the world.