Masquerade: How to Spot a Counterfeit

I’ve always wanted to go into a costume shop and just try on masks.  With bright feathers and jeweled designs, masks look so appealing and alluring.  When I wear one, I can pretend to be a great many things I am not.  But it comes from my imagination.  When I pull the mask off my face, it is just a hollow shell with paste diamonds and plastic feathers to cover my ordinary face.

When we’re children, we’re drawn to the glittery masks and dazzling colors.  It’s appealing.  But it’s fake.  When the masquerader reveals himself, we find he is not who he pretended to be.

I saw an old movie once called “The Emperor’s Candlesticks.”  In it, the crown prince of Russia was at a masquerade.  And, well, a pretty coquette catches his eye and she draws him out of the crowded ballroom.  He follows her through the garden and straight into the hands of the political rebels who kidnap him and hold him for ransom.  The entire time we watched him following the girl, I was telling my sister, “No, no.  He shouldn’t go with her.  How dumb is this prince?”

But we in reality are far more gullible.  A beautiful idea with streamers attached whirls by and we are snared.  Once the streamers are detached, the face paint removed, and the soul revealed, it is nothing but hollow hearts.  Hollow dreams that do not satisfy.  When we chase after the masks, we forget the eyes are empty and the mask is just a mask.

We are all searching for something.  Call it happiness.  Call it purpose.  Call it a thrill.  There is something deep inside us that is just not satisfied no matter what we do.  So we rummage through our lives trying to find something to ease the restlessness.  In life, there are dazzling masks hanging in the store windows, taunting us–tempting us to submit to their control, overwhelming us with the intense attraction they hold for us.   Be it music or movies, friends or family, school or sex, nothing will fill that void.  They are all painted masks–pretty to look at but empty and pointless.   Our hearts yearn for beauty and purpose–two things we often see glimpses of but cannot attain.  The masks are in the way of our true treasure:  Jesus Christ.

But we are accustomed to masks–to fake and phonies–to things that are not enough and to people who disappoint us.  So when we see a face with no mask, no pretense, no contrived bedazzlement, we fail to recognize its awesomeness.

Christ is the Maskless One.  The One Who alone gives fulfillment.  He is truth itself, not an empty facade.  “All who came before were robbers and thieves.” (John 10:8)  But He is the Good Shepherd.  He lays down His life for His sheep–“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

What am I to do then?  I am called to act like Him.  I lay down my life for the Shepherd, not for masqueraders with emeralds and diamonds.  “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 ESV)

Christ is the One Who truly cares for me.  The empty masks cannot hear my prayers, cannot love me, cannot forgive my sins, cannot know me better than I myself.  Only Jesus can.  He is the only Cause worth living for.

“Deeper than the nails that they drove through His hands

Is the love of a Father who gave His only Son.

Deeper than the thorns that they pushed in His brow

Is the love of a Son who died for everyone.

Love so amazing—Deep, deep love

Love so divine—Deep, deep love

Love never fails to hear my call

Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

from Deep, Deep Love–by Couldn’t Find the Author; found on Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team CD “Come Boldly”

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