I am asking myself, where has the time gone? Before you know it, the holidays will be here. Tonight we will ccelebrate Halloween. I know when my kids were younger we went to the store and looked for hours for a costume. They always had a hard time deciding who they wanted to be. We would only let them choose characters that we thought were okay. For instance, cartoon characters, princesses, etc. I am not here to give you my opinion on whether Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. That is between you and God.
What I am going to do is look at the costumes themselves. Costumes are designed for the purpose of wearing them and allowing ourselves to be the person or thing the costume portrays. For example, a few years ago all the boys wanted to be Ninja Turtles or some other super-power hero. Why? They could pretend for one night they were a superhero and had all that power given to them. We all know they were the same children, even with the costumes on. They didn’t have power, and they weren’t superheroes.
Most of us agree that as adults, we are too old to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Many of us are fooling ourselves. We may not go out and purchase a costume and we may not go trick-or-treating, but in reality too many of us wear costumes daily and we try to trick others into believing we are something we aren’t.
There are people who put on the costume of a successful person. They want to trick you into believing they are very successful and life is just grand. They may have all the appearances of a successful person: a nice car, a beautiful home, a good job; everything they have appears as if they are a success. Once the costume is taken off, are they really successful? Does all that success make them happy? What about all the debt they have accumulated just to trick others into thinking they are successful? Is their success based on a relationship with Christ or is it based on worldly success?
There is the costume of being at peace with everything and everybody. You ask them how things are going and they are the first ones to say everything is fine when, in reality, their lives are in shambles. You see them smile and pretend that life is pleasant all the time. They may have all kinds of health issues, family problems, or they themselves are experiencing depression, yet to the world everything is fine. They put on their costume and pretend.
Another costume adults, like children, wear is that of the superhero. They put this costume on and they become the hero. They truly believe they have the power to do anything, be anybody, and get by with anything. These people think they don’t need God, and they can do it themselves. They have all the power and strength, and God is a waste of their time. They are in control of their circumstances and no one is going to tell them any different.
These are just a few costumes we all put on from time to time. You have done it and so have I. The question is what kind of costume are you wearing now? Who are you trying to trick people into believing you are?
At church on Sunday morning, you may see these and many other costumes coming into church. People can’t allow anyone in church to see who they really are. Yet, that is when we need to shed our costumes and come just as we are. Well, I have news for you. We may try to trick our family and friends. We can wear all kinds of costumes and try to hide our real identity. We may think no one will ever see the real us. In Psalm 139:1 it says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” God knows everything there is to know about us. We cannot hide anything from Him. We cannot hide our deepest feelings, we can’t hide our words, we can’t hide our thoughts from Him: nothing.
Even with the costume on, you are still you. You can deceive man into thinking you are someone else, but you can’t deceive God. Underneath that costume, God knows you. He knows your weaknesses and He knows your strengths. He knows what you can and can’t do. He knows who you will obey — Satan or God).
A few days ago on TV, I saw some people who had gone in for a complete makeover. Some of them had nose jobs, plates put in their chins, tummy tucks, and all other sorts of things. It really bothered me because God made them who they were. Instead of appreciating God’s creation, they felt doctors could do a better job, so they allowed doctors to mess with God’s creation. That in itself is disappointing to me, but you know what? Nothing has changed. Yes, their looks have changed, but they are still themselves even after all the operations. Deep down inside they are still the same people they were before. They may put on a costume to try and deceive people into thinking they are different, but God knows better. There is nothing we can do that God doesn’t know about. There is no costume that will hide who we are from God.
The sad part of this is far too many people fail to realize God loves them for who they are. They don’t have to put on a costume for God to love them. In Romans 8:35 it reads, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? . . .” In 8:38 it goes on to say:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
In simple terms, that means that nothing the doctor does, no costume, nothing can separate us from the love God has for us. He will love us no matter what we are like. All we have to do is be willing to take off our costume, go to Him, and allow Him to love us for who we really are; not what we think we are or who we want to be.
We must also realize we can have better relationships with our family and friends if they are allowed to see the real us and not hide behind some costume. Unless they, too, are hiding behind some costume, they will love us for who we really are. They won’t care about our looks, actions, or what we have done in the past.
Are you ready to take off your costume? Are you ready to quit tricking people into thinking you are something you aren’t? Once you have removed your costume and quit playing the tricking game, your load will be a lot lighter.
For Halloween this year, let’s leave the costumes and the trick-or-treating to the kids and let’s get real with ourselves, family, friends, and God. Remember: God loves you for you; not for what you think you ought to be or what you think He wants you to be!
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?”
Prayer: Lord, we want to take our costumes off, but we are afraid. We are afraid people won’t like us for who we really are. We are afraid people will see our brokenness and turn the other way. When we wear our costumes we can become who we want to be. We can pretend to be somebody we aren’t. You know us, Lord, inside and out. We can trick people, but we can’t trick you. Help us as we begin to take off our costumes and become who we really are. Thank you for making us and for knowing us as we are. Teach us to love ourselves as you love us. Thank you for life, and thank you for loving us just as we are today. For all these things we pray. Amen.