Fake it 'til you make it.
We've all heard this thousands of times. The idea is that you act the way you want to be perceived or the way you want to feel until you achieve it.
I don't believe it. Let me tell you why.
For a long time I struggled with a big issue. My mask. You know, the mask I put on when I was in front of people, but really I was completely different underneath.
I thought that if I could convince the world that I was ok, then I could convince myself.
I was wrong.
His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:21 ESV)
This was me. I had war in my heart. I fought against everything inside of me. The things I said were sweet, but they came from a hurting place.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:5 ESV)
Because I was wearing a mask, I was still attending church. I would go to the alter and "pour my heart out." I would put on a show and I would receive nothing.
So I ran.
I ran from the God who loved me because I thought He hated me. I ran from every good thing because I thought I didn't deserve it.
I ran toward destruction because I knew there was never going to be any way I could live up to the expectations that I felt Christ had for me.
In some sense, I was right.
The thing about the enemy is, he gives you just enough truth that you believe the lie.
The truth is: I never could do it on my own. There is nothing I could ever do to deserve what Jesus did for me.
The whole truth is: God never asked me to do it alone. No one deserves what Christ did for them.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1, 2 ESV)
He has given me brothers and sisters to help me bear my load.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:26, 27 ESV)
He has given me the Holy Spirit to guide me.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
Ultimately, He has my back.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:6-10 ESV)
Knowing that I was from sinful man and that I would fail Him, Christ died on the cross for my sins that I might spend eternity with Him.
When we pretend, we feed into the stereotype of being a "Christian." When pretend that we have everything together, the world looks at us and one of two things happens. 1.) They turn away because they think there is no way they could live up to the standard the church would hold them to, or 2.) They say they don't want to be a part of the church because they don't want to be a hypocorite.
We need to show the world a new church. A church that is not content wearing its mask. A church that follows through with what it teaches. A church that truly welcomes the broken-hearted. A church that is humble and admits when they make mistakes. A church of love and consequences. A church of truth.
So don't fake it. Make it.
And remember, you are redeemed.