Notice the Masks

God's creation is being scorched by the hot summer sun where I live. Grass that was once soft and emerald green is now tan, dry and pokes my kids' bare feet. Heat is evaporating the water faster than it can be replenished. We're expecting another heatwave this week. I've gotten used to sweating again but I know I'll get used to bundling up when the chilled winds come.

These bodies adapt to the seasons slowly but soon they stop noticing the layer of discomfort that is present in the hottest parts of summer and the coldest times of winter. We adapt to this stuff here on earth. The nightly news sprays images and words of the most detestable sins across our screens and we grow tired of all the negativity. But it doesn't shock us anymore. We are used to hearing about it.

I heard a sermon today about Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) and I truly never thought I'd hear that sermon. It was refreshing to hear the brave and experienced speaker unpack that portion of scripture to us. God used that unfortunate married couple as an example of what He hates. In Proverbs 6:16 it gives the list of what God hates. It isn't greed or lack of generosity, although the selfish couple was guilty of that, too. It's a lying tongue and a false witness, among other things. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look dedicated and trusting without actually paying the same price as the truly dedicated and trusting of the lot. They held back a portion of their earnings when they sold their land (of their own volition and initiative; doing that was not a requirement of the early church, but supposed to be a result of faith) and yet wanted the same trust and appreciation as the ones who truly gave it all.

Hypocrites. The pastor went on to speak about authenticity and it's value among believers who gather.  Actors don't really experience the stuff in the movies. They are interacting with CGI, head back to their trailer for a massage, and get to do several takes before they get it just right. This isn't the real, dirty truth. They take off their "mask" and go back to their lives where they live out their own part of the story. Don't buy the lie, right? It's only entertainment.

Faith and trust can be just for show, also. Any virtue can be performed for a little while. But when the cameras are off and the audience has gone home, the actors have to face themselves again. They have to face the fact that they aren't the character they portrayed. No amount of money, admiration, or power can make them all that special effects or a masterful script let them pretend to be for a while. Some want the illusion so badly that they start to believe they are actually owed the same recognition as the people they portrayed. Marvelous performance! It's almost like you became that person. Method acting at it's finest.

God knows the truth and He is Light. Everything will be revealed and all the masks will come off. We cannot steal another person's story and make it our own, we must pay the cost they paid. We can try to leach off of another's person's virtue by imitating them and emulating their goodness but it doesn't take. The devil tries to imitate a holy God all the time.

And we humans most definitely can't act like Jesus, the perfect and sinless Jesus! He has to do it from within us. We must sell all that we are back to Him and give what we get for it to each other. Then we will know complete dependence and satisfaction in a holy God. You can't fake that for long.

Everything is so cheap nowadays. Knock-offs and scams and dollar store toys. It all falls apart the minute you trust it. But we've grown accustomed to it as the way things are. We just don't trust anyone, then. The only person we trust is ourselves. That's what got us into this mess to begin with. Trust takes bravery and courage. God help us be brave enough to trust You with everything we have.

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