False Appearances

Journal Entry // February 5, 2022

So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:28 ESV

The mask of righteousness is a dangerous and addictive lie and deception that will ultimately bring about our downfall without true spiritual, heart changing correction. This mask of righteousness that we wear is all about self-righteousness and the approval of people. We wear this mask because we desire the approval of man above the approval of God. We want people to like and approve of us to the point that we want to remove the righteousness of Christ that covers us and expose our inward hypocrisy and lawlessness. In so doing, we must then cover ourselves with this mask of outward appearance of personal righteousness. Performing for the crowds, but allowing sin to run rampant inside.

That’s the struggle in essence. The yoke and burden of Christ is light and easy because I have his righteousness as a covering. The righteousness of Jesus. His righteous covering compels me to expel each and every sin in my heart through repentance and faith. His righteousness brings with it humility and suffering in order to learn obedience. The very model of life that Jesus led while on earth.

Everything inside me rails against this. Humility and suffering will not get you many Facebook friends or Instagram followers. Humility and suffering will not bring you fame and fortune. It will bring you closer to Jesus… But my heart wants the world to lift me up and tell me how amazing I am. Humility and suffering want me to lift up Jesus before the world and tell how amazing he is.

It is a simple act to put on the mask of self-righteousness and give the appearance of godliness. The mask not only deceives those around me, but deceives me as well. Over time, I begin to believe the lies and trust in the mask of deception. And why not, everyone keeps telling me how amazing I am and even how blessed I am by the Lord. Falsehood upon falsehood until the day of crisis. That crossroad where my mask of deception meets the truth of God’s word. That day when the Lord rips away the mask and opens my eyes.

In that moment I will see the lies, the deception, the self-righteousness, the hypocrisy, and the lawlessness within my heart. It comes down to a choice… Will I turn to Christ in repentance and faith or will I keep wearing the mask? For me… I choose repentance and faith. Now my eyes are opened and I see the fullness of hypocrisy and lawlessness within my heart. I see the ugliness within and Jesus is teaching me about true repentance and true faith through humility and suffering. It is tough. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. And the mask I wore for so long calls out to me, tantalizing me with the comfort of the “good old days.”

The “good old days” are now! They can only be found in obedience to Christ. I am learning to realign my heart and mind. I am learning to view the world around me as Christ views the world. I am learning to be content in all things. I am beginning to understand that the path of obedience leads through humility and suffering. That I am following in the footsteps of Jesus. That this path is difficult, but so rewarding. The burden is light because Christ has taken all my sin to the cross and paid the price. He covers me with his perfect holy righteousness. I don’t have to perform or pretend. I can be exactly who he has called me to be. I want to be that man. That humble servant who seeks only to please my loving Father.

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