Take Off Your Mask- Put on Holiness
“Here, you are Hulk,” said my girlfriend’s 5 year-old son as he shoved a HULK mask in my direction. I sweetly replied, “I don’t want to be HULK! I want to be Wonder Woman.” He thoughtfully considered my request, then said, “Sorry, you are not Wonder Woman, you are the HULK.” ☹ So, I dawned the green mask, all-the-while hoping that this bright young boy did not draw his conclusion because my clothes were too tight and looked like they would soon burst open like Hulk’s shirts and pants.
I smiled, flexed my muscles, growled a little, and bellowed in my best, deep husky voice, “O.K, puny humans, I am HULK!” And all the children cheered! Maybe I am the HULK. 😊
This time of year, when the question of, “What do you want to be,” fills the air of every costume aisle of Target stores across America, it seems appropriate that all of us should push the pause button and evaluate what we really want to be.
I really want to be Wonder Woman! I want to be a SUPER HERO every day of my life. And from the looks of the world around me, I am not alone. This is a common yet unrealized desire for many of us. It is no surprise. We have entire industries ready to sell us on the idea of the super hero pursuit. Standing in the line at the grocery store I am bombarded by pictures of perfectly dressed and manicured women. They never have a pound in the wrong place. Ugh, I must work out harder! I also feel guilty when I pick up take-out food because I know that my friends are serving perfect PINTEREST meals in their tidy ship lapped homes. Ugh, I must try harder, spend more time and money on making this happen in my house too!
It doesn’t matter, Sisters. Work inside or outside the home, we women want to be caped crusaders. We want to be able to leap large mounds of laundry while looking great in tights. We want to be able to do it all! Sadly, we have chosen the world’s view of success for women. And with that view, we have left the more important things of life marginalized or neglected all together.
For the next few moments I want to challenge you with the following thought:
Instead of dawning the WONDER WOMAN mask today,
why don’t you pursue Christ and put on His holiness?
Let’s take off the mask, capes and tights. For just a minute, let’s re-look at who we really want to be! Wonder Woman is a shallow, make-believe character from the Amazon … not the two-day free shipping kind. Let’s reevaluate what God wants for our lives! Keep reading, friends!
WHAT DOES GOD WANT FOR ME?
To start, 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.” Am I pursuing holiness with more than mere lip service? When my friend’s son gave me the HULK mask, I knew what the character looked like, acted like and sounded like. I grew up watching the TV show THE INCREDIBLE HULK with the larger-than-life Lou Ferrigno. So, I imitated him. And, I nailed it! I will need to do the same thing with my pursuit of holiness. I will need to study Jesus’s character, spend time with Him and realign my own priorities to match His. I will need to put into practice the words of Philippians 2:5, “In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let is purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
GETTING TO KNOW THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST
As we study the life of Jesus, we see a humble servant (John 13:1-5), a sacrificial lover of others (Ephesians 5:1-2) and a man who was kind to all he came in contact with … even His enemies (Luke 6:35). The list goes on and on. But let’s hang out right here for a moment. If I abandon my desire to have a picture-perfect body, an immaculate house and top-notch social circle, I may start to have time to pursue humble service. I may actually sacrificially love another human! And see their needs as more important than my own. I would not waste time holding grudges or filling the air with gossip. If this becomes my standard for success, instead of making my house look like a Joanna Gain’s home, I will be open to whatever God calls me to do. I would have friends and neighbors over, even when things are not tidy, because my self-esteem would not be wrapped-up in their impression of me. God’s opinion of me would matter more! I would put on kindness in word and deed. And like Christ, I would love the unlovable.
2 Timothy 1:9
He has saved us and called us to a holy life- not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. The grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
SPENDING TIME WITH JESUS
How we spend our time says a lot about what we value. I know women who do not spend 5 minutes in God’s word each day, but will make time for an hour-long JAZZ class to “keep in shape.” There is nothing wrong with exercise, but it can’t trump our relationship with God and spending time with Him on a daily basis. We cannot allow our spiritual being to wither away as we pump iron. We need time in the Word and in fellowship with our Father. Corporate worship on Sundays is a great launching place for our walk week, but it was never intended to be enough. If this is the only time you spend with God - your walk will be weak! It will never be enough. We must re-look at what our present schedule says about us and what we truly value. Ouch, huh? Look back at how you spent the last 7 weeks, 7 days or even 7 hours. Where did the time go? What does how you spend your time say about what you hold dear?
If you are not in the Word and spending time in prayer each and every day, make a change today. Choose Jesus and the pursuit of holiness.
If your speech says, “I love Jesus above all else,” but there is nothing in your life that testifies to that, make a change today. May our time, energy and resources reflect that confession of love for Christ not confuse those around us!
Carve out time to be an obedient daughter of God. That may mean hiring a cleaning person. For years, both my husband and I worked. We knew the limits of our non-working time, and we didn’t want to sacrifice time in the word, loving our neighbors and living missional lives to the cleaning of our home. So, we hired-out the cleaning of our house each week. If you have more money then time, use if for eternal good. It doesn’t make you a lesser wife, but rather enables you to do the things that are most important, with both your words and your actions.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
MAKING MY PRIORITIES MATCH GOD’S PRIORITIES
While on the earth, Jesus was fully submitted to the Father. Like Him, we must also be fully submitted to God and His will for our lives. We cannot overlook the command to love Him and our neighbors. Neither can we sweep aside, in the interest of selfish pursuits, Jesus’ command to, “Go into all the world making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).” Our lives should line up with His will; not the worldly standards for excellence. We can skip preparing the 3-course meal and drive through the line at Wendy’s if it means spending more time loving our family, mentoring a younger sister or a caring for a hurting neighbor. We can forgo the new couch and instead support the mission trip to Peru that is short on funds. We can spend our time, money and talents in the pursuit of His Kingdom instead of creating our own kingdom.
Romans 12 :1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.
My desire is to pursue Christ’s holiness every day. I want to wake up each morning and pray, “Your will, not mine today, Father! Show me how I can humbly love my husband, my family, my neighbors, and my community well. Let my love for you and my passion for your people burn brightly! Convict me when parts of my day do not line up with Your heart or Your plans. More of You, less of me!” Please join me in this pursuit!
You may think “but what about my marriage?” “This post was not about marriage”, but puny human “it was” stated in my most HULK like voice! If you truly pursue holiness your marriage will reap the benefits of supernatural peace, over flowing love and joy in abundance- you can take that promise to the bank 😊! Keep reading friends!
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.