Lenten Reflections: Fasting Fake

In many of Jesus’ parables, “yeast” is used as a stand-in for sin-especially the sin of hypocrisy. He called out religious leaders over and over for saying one thing and living another.

Years ago a church leader said something I’d never really considered before: “Pagans will act like pagans”.

It was a profound reminder that as a disciple of Christ, as one transformed by His grace and translated by His blood from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light I shouldn’t be surprised that those who do not yet follow Him behave as they do.

THEY do not represent Jesus. THEIR lives are not supposed to be invitations to truth and freedom through the gospel.

But MINE is.

And lest some of my church friends point to the oft-quoted fact that hypocrisy is found everywhere I want to stop you there.

Yes, hypocrisy is everywhere. But that does not make it acceptable.

It also doesn’t account for what should be the transformed life of love, truth, grace and mercy of those who genuinely follow Jesus.

One of the most challenging aspects of living life after devastating loss is to authentically represent the comfort and assurance my heart finds in the promises of God. I refuse to pretend I never doubt or waver, but I also refuse to pretend that my Savior has ever left me in despair.

He sees me.

He loves me.

He lifts me up.

So today, ask the Lord where your walk falls short of your talk. Consider the excuses you might make to cover that gap. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to make it a closer match.

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Masks and Making Space for Authenticity

Today’s fast is appearances.

When my kids were young we watched a movie in which one of the female characters worked hard to keep up a perfect appearance in hopes of “catching her man”. But all her efforts were undone by a child who saw through the fake.

“Does your face hurt?”, asked the little girl, referring to the obvious strain required to try to keep that smile exactly right.

I’ve often thought about how much energy I’ve wasted trying to pretend that I’m something I’m not.

It’s especially tempting to put on that “holy habit” when I walk through the doors of church or gather for a women’s ministry event.

Wear the right thing, say the right thing, never let my guard down or confess to struggling.

I am guilty of affirming and rewarding others who look like they have it all together while sometimes ignoring or marginalizing those who are clearly having a hard time. This only perpetuates the ongoing pressure to “measure up” lest we be found wanting.

But Jesus does not ask me to “fake it til I make it”.

He invites me to come with all my mess and lay it at His feet where He will turn ashes to beauty and bring fruit from barrenness as I abide in Him.

I love, love, love what Alicia Britt Chole says: “Our reality doesn’t frustrate Jesus. Our hypocrisy does.”

So for (at least!) one day fast facades.

Take off the mask. Be real.

He already knows. ❤

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

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