This article is part of a church-wide study of the book “One Faithful Promise” by Magrey deVega. Learn more >
How are you?
Really? Better to keep that mask on; pretty sure they don’t really want to hear the truth.
Most of us wear all kinds of masks, one for socials, another for work, a mask for church, yet another for Saturday night. It may not be a conscious thing. It’s not that we want to deceive people. Sometimes we have to put on a façade in order to be safe. Certain groups expect us to play a role and wear a mask in order to fit in. Women in the world certainly know all about this; as do people of color. Growing up in America, little Anglo boys were urged to put on the John Wayne mask; tears were never an option.
King David, in the Bible, was Israel’s greatest king. He also broke most of the Ten Commandments. When he was confronted with his sin, rather than lashing out, David fell to his knees and prayed to God. You can read David’s prayer: Psalm 51.
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.
- I have sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.
- Create in me a clean heart, O God; put a new and right spirit within me.
- You desire truth in the inward being.
When we confide in God, that’s what we’re after: truth in the inward being; a clean heart, a new and right spirit.
Of course, we’d rather skip confessing sins. It’s so much nicer to go straight to the grace and love of God. But there is freedom in having nothing to hide. Wesley believed self-examination and confession were essential. Listen to Wesley: “First, set apart time, more than once, to spend alone with God; search your heart and consider what your sins are. Be clear; see that you do not lie to God.”
Over these next weeks join me and every willing soul at TUMC as we, together, adventure with Christ, as we renew our covenant with God. Step One: Confide in God.
- Alone with God, take off your masks; be vulnerable and authentic.
- Take full inventory of your sins.
- Resolve to avoid them in the future.
Not easy, folks; this is hard spiritual work. And the necessary first step in this adventure of renewing our relationship with God.
Gracious God, thank you for seeing me for who I really am and knowing me better than I know myself. Teach me to trust in you, that I may not fear the consequence of vulnerability and transparency before you. Forgive me of my sins, and show me the power of your redeeming love. Amen.
All good things to you in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Rev. David Gilliam
Want to know more?
Read John Wesley’s sermon “Self-Denial,” found online at the Wesley Center Online.
“The denying ourselves and the taking up our cross, in the full extent of the expression, is not a thing of small concern: It is not expedient only, as are some of the circumstantials of religion; but it is absolutely, indispensably necessary, either to our becoming or continuing his disciples. It is absolutely necessary…”