One of my favorite stories and movies is Phantom of the Opera. You can catch me singing songs from it with my kids randomly in our attempt to sound operatic. As much as I feel like I should probably feel sorry for the phantom due to his past and his weakness, I cannot help but see his character in connection to Lucifer. I cannot help but see one masquerading and intimidating by using charm to get what he wants. I cannot help but see his heart, not just his face, as the mask is removed.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.”
The masquerade. The art of pretending to be one thing, all the while hiding the true self underneath. We may not see people walking around wearing literal masks, all sequined-up and sparkly. We do, however, live in a daily masquerade ball, sharing the dance floor with pretenders. It breaks my heart to think that one would put so much effort into “acting” like an apostle of Christ. Why not just jump in and be one!?
Deceit is a powerful tool in the enemy’s arsenal. The thought of a new Christian being enticed and led astray by a mask, innocently following a wolf in sheep’s clothing makes my blood boil. The thought of people masquerading (most likely being deceived themselves, unknowingly pretenders) and leading others astray in the wake of their falsehood should stir us to teach and train, to pray for discernment and wisdom.
This is in no way a direct aim at anyone; in all honesty, when I asked the Lord what to write, “The Mask” is what dropped in my heart. This is a challenge to not only be on guard against wolves who would scatter the flock, but for each of us to search our hearts to make sure they are not divided and deceived, with the capacity to deceive ourselves as well as others.
May we not only recognize a mask when we see one, but may we determine to live in purity of heart ourselves. The Lord sees us to the core of our being…I want Him to see the same person all the way through me.
Father, I know that there will be false prophets, fake Christians, wolves in sheep’s clothing. I know that not all people are real in what they profess. This breaks my heart. Lord, help us to be on guard and focus on being consistently real ourselves. There will be a day when the masks are removed. I want to see You with pure eyes. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15