Lifelines October 31, 2021

It’s that time again when ghosts and goblins invade our streets.  Little people, and some not so little, go door-to-door asking for treats.  They dress up like something (or someone) that they are not to fill up their bags with goodies.  It is Halloween, and the masquerade is on.

We all put on a mask sometime to hide who we really are and what we are feeling.  Especially on Sunday.  We wear a smile to cover our sadness.  We dress in our Sunday best, grab our Bibles and join the congregation in singing the songs and breaking the bread.  Meanwhile, Monday will find us back in the ways of the world.  Scripture has a word for that: Hypocrite!

The first day of the week is a time to put away our masks for good.  God sees right through them.  We can fool each other, but the truth will eventually emerge.  It might not be until the day of judgment, but it will happen.  The Lord knows what is going on in our lives.  He reads our hearts, knows our thoughts, hears our words (Even the unspoken ones!) and knows the real us.  There is no Halloween with Him.

Hypocrisy has always haunted God’s people.  It even nudged its way into the Savior’s inner circle and the influence spread (Galatians 2:11-14).  Peter was among the most prominent leaders in the early church, but he was guilty.  Barnabas was Paul’s first missionary partner and was caught up in it.  Other Jews joined in.  The dominoes fell.  If one of the twelve and a missionary could be victimized by the temptation to put on a costume, aren’t we all in danger?  Even more, are we susceptible to being fooled?

The devil is highly skilled at deception.  It was a successful tool in the beginning, and it still is.  He is a master recruiter, and his foot-soldiers follow his lead.  They are hard to spot because they appear so angelic (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).  So, does he, and his servants mimic his behavior and apparel.  They come in disguise and lead people astray.  They present themselves as workers sent from the Lord, but they lie.  They look good but aren’t.  They are con-artists, hypocrites who have put on a mask of righteousness.

The Jews had their share, too.  They had the externals just right.  They engaged in all of the right actions, but underneath it all beat a heart of hypocrisy (Matthew 23:25-28).  Looks can be deceiving.  They were benevolent, praying and fasting frauds who were exposed by Jesus (Matthew 6:1-14).  All they wanted was attention.  They got it and nothing more.

The devil wields his influence everywhere, and his costumes are very convincing to everyone except God.  His vision looks within, behind the mask.  We may not be able to identify them, but we can see to it that we are not one of them.