John 8:31-32 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
This has to be one of the most appealing passages in the whole bible, isn’t it? The idea of freedom is universally appealing isn’t it? God has shined light on this passage and how it relates in the life of my wife and I in new ways. What this passage is essentially saying is that we are all slaves, we all are slaves to our sin and we have freedom from this slavery in Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for “sin” is “hamartia” which means “missing the mark” so often we can miss Gods calling for our lives and live our lives in a way that is not true to our own identity. Through sacrificing his son, God has prepaid the price for us to have the privilege to live lives that are truly free and amazing. Whenever we live the lives God has called us to live, it is never burdensome and always extremely freeing. In Christ, God can take off our masks if we let him.
In our lives we tend to betray our personal convictions, self-identity, and conscience’s over and over again until we are eventually living untrue to ourselves, essentially we put on a mask, we fall into Satans trap of living burdensome, unfulfilling lives. This is so hard to maintain we eventually turn to vices to find relief and to keep up with the appearance. In Christ, we can rid ourselves of the pressure of living up to someone else’s expectations or even our own and live lives true to the life God intended for us. A great description of this is found in 1 Samuel 17:38-40:
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
This passage now has new meaning in my eyes. David could not wear Saul’s armor because it wasn’t him! It wasn’t comfortable, it didn’t fit, it didn’t feel right. We all can try to put on someone else’s armor in our lives, cant we? We can try to live up to other people expectations or demands, we can try and pursue career path even though we know we don’t want it, we can get married to people because other people want us to, we can make decision about our image because of how much we care about what others think of us, we can try to be people we are really not because we think it’s a better look. Imagine if David tried to please king Saul and wear his armor! It would have had disastrous consequences! The Israelites probably would have lost this battle and king David would have been killed and the very lineage of Christ would be in jeopardy. When we try to pretend it feels awful it is so burdensome. In Christ, we can take of our “fake armor” and put on the armor of God, armor that is true to our nature and Gods will for our life. As we follow Gods will, we will always feel free our masks will be off.
I remember one day in middle school I got into a fight with a kid, it was my first fight I had during school hours and on school grounds and I won. I remember how much love I got for beating a kid up, I immediately became a local legend because I think a lot people didn’t like this particular kid. It was so empowering and uplifting, I felt like a hero or something. After this feeling, I never wanted to stop fighting, even for the wrong reasons and purposes. To be honest, in my heart I was never a fighter. The idea of fighting was actually very scary to me. I remember one day a teacher told me, “you’re a lover not a fighter”. I felt like she saw through me. My only reaction was that I needed to work harder so that people cant see my soft side, instead of taking off the mask, I tightened it tighter determined to never let anyone see through me again. I had also been bullied myself and I remember feeling like I need to get tougher, fight more, make people fear me so that I will never have to be bullied again. This became my “fake armor” this became my mask. It was so burdensome and heavy I really hated it. I really just wanted to be myself, but I felt like I couldn’t because then people would think I was soft and I would lose the respect I had worked so hard to get.
I remember when I started reading about Jesus and I experienced that freedom of wearing my own armor, custom made by God! It was so relieving! It changed my life. I had been living a lie and in Christ I found freedom. The truth is although I found that freedom in Christ exists, I am still tempted to put on a variety of different mask in my life.
Are you living in someone else’s armor? Are you wearing a mask? What are you not being honest with yourself about? Be brutally honest with yourself so that your motivations for why can be revealed. Let this process reveal your idols and the things that dictate your life choices other than the love of Christ.
- Following a career path to appease other people?
- Living someone else’s dream for you?
- Trying to act like and look like someone else?
My biggest encouragement would be to do this with the help of someone else that you trust and can guide you through this (a spiritual advisor). Don’t make any drastic decision after arriving at the conclusion you have been pursuing thing with the wrong motivations or missing Gods “mark” for your life. Give it time and let emotions die down a bit. Try to understand it and interpret what it means for you. Don’t think about the consequences as you unravel this.
Don’t think about what it means for your life because it might not change anything on the outside, it might just be a change you needed internally to feel free as you go about your life the same as always, only with a new lease.
We can hold onto our masks so tightly and for so long because we want them to eventually become our real faces. We can lie to ourselves to continue down certain paths even if we know it is not our truth. This post is not about quitting your job, getting divorced, making drastic life decisions, its only about being honest with where you are and then you can get help in Gods word and some spiritual advisors you trust to address these issues and experience freedom from the mask. This post is about coming clean and the freedom we feel when we do that.
1 John 1:5-10New International Version (NIV)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
By: Patrick Genova