The recently published book Peeling Back the Mask by a man who has the same name twice- Miguna, Miguna has received varied reactions both in the public sphere and the social media. The clichés of come baby come is now a common thing now in face-book and other associations made to Miguna Miguna. Some have questioned his upbringing and motives into such audacious claims and accusations. However Miguna Miguna has remained firm and consistent despite the outright enmity and assault He has received from various corners of this country. Although am neither for or against Him, there is much to learn from this man. As we reflect on our series this year of Building on LIFE stewardship, this month we will look at critical questions that arise from Psalm 24:1 concerning our resources and well being. If the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it
Are we convinced that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, where do we stand in our convictions about who God is when it comes to our resources and abilities our needs and expectations?
What really remains of our faith when the masks have been peeled off? How do our habits in these times reveal who we really are and what we really believe about God? This month at Lifespring we invite you to take a journey that will challenge our view of God and ourselves as we Peel back the masks. Is God who He says He is and are we who He says we are?
Today we will do an introduction to the series of this month peel back our masks. Turn with me now to a story of a man whose mask was peeled off and the substance of his Faith was revealed. Read Job 1-2
The Book of Job is a story of a good man who suffers total disaster, losing all his children and property and suffering a repulsive disease. The book then unfolds with a dialogue between Job and His friends in reaction to these calamities that had befallen Job. Jobs friends try to rationalize and explain his sufferings, because God always rewards good and punish evil; his situation simply meant that He had sinned to deserve this. For Job he knows that He does not deserve such treatment from God, considering how good and upright He has been. He cannot understand how God can let so much evil happen to someone like him, while other obvious wicked people are prospering. He challenges God boldly, He longs to be justified before God and regain his honor as a good man.
This is a difficult thing to explain….In a lot of ways, we find ourselves like Job, after waiting on God for too long, praying and remaining faithful to Him, and we just cannot take it that He can allow us to go through such discomfort or even disappointments. After working so hard and so long, when you expected God to raise you at your work place to get a dismissal letter, or even a promotion for the unfaithful colleague,
After keeping pure for so long, it looks like all your friends who messed up are getting married and you are not, after reading hard and going through school with difficulty, your friends who were joking in class, seem to be progressing much faster in life than you are….
These are realities of life and I agree this is difficult…God does not give an answer to Job’s questions which we might have expected. Instead at the very end of the book God responds to Job’s faith by giving him a powerful, poetic picture of His divine power and wisdom. Job then realizes that God is in control and humbly acknowledges God as wise and great, repenting of the wild and angry words he had used.
On Wednesday in our staff devotion, Pst. Zeph helped us to see that many of us put on masks. He said that masks have two uses, to protect but also to hide. The real man or woman in us is revealed when these masks are taken off, the substance of our faith in God is seen.
We are introduced to Job first as a blameless man, who feared the Lord and shunned evil. But also that Job is a rich man, a big family and great wealth. Some scholars have even doubted the existence of such a man, take note of what God says of Him. See verse 8
But Satan quickly points out…”Does Job fear God for nothing” is it not because you have blessed him…now take it away and see if He will not curse you to your face
My first truth to bring out here is that there is a sense in which Comfort can obscure our worship. Jesus in speaking to the rich young ruler simply said… Go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor and come and follow me. The Bible records that “He walked away sad.”
Job lost all that gave him comfort, both social (family) and physical wealth- One bad report after another.
It is very human to seek comfort, It is not necessarily a bad thing but our pursuit of comfort should not take away our worship of God. Sometimes God uses discomfort to mature our faith in Him. When Job heard all this bad news he fell down and worshipped. Verse1: 20-21
As Lifespring Chapel, I need to say to us that even as the work has begun, I assure you we are far from comfort neither our Goal should be mere comfort. Our faith should not rest on seeing just the foundation come up, or settling in and being comfortable away from the rain and mud. Is our worship masked in comfort? When comfort is taken away what remains of our worship?
This journey to build will call for discomfort, and God will use this discomfort to mature our faith and worship of Him. I also need to affirm you, that for many of you who have chosen to stay with Lifespring in this season of discomfort. God has matured our faith. When the masks of Lifespring has been peeled… You could have chosen to go elsewhere to a church already established, with vibrant ministries and clean car park. When our masks have been peeled off, you are the fruit of our faith that has remained. And for those of you who are uncomfortable, I can only pray that you see it as an opportunity to grow your faith and dependence on God.
The second thing that I need to say is that when the masks are removed, we are exposed. Sometimes doubt, fear is exposed. We begin to question God’s good ness and ability. Some of the lies we develop is that God may be able but He doesn’t want to bless me. If He is able then He is not willing, His ears are far from me. In these times when we are feeling really exposed and sometimes put to shame, we question If He still is with us or even cares.
However for the truth to come in, these lies must be exposed in repentance. The danger when our masks are not peeled off is to believe these lies. Like the song says that God is unable to help me.
While job held steady to his faith, She could not take it anymore…..Realizing this Job’s own wife came to him and the best advice she could give…curse God and die.The question is, who are you listening to when your mask is peeled off? Because even the people close to us can discourage us greatly and cause us to doubt God and give up on him altogether.
The result is we don’t trust Him completely, by holding back areas in our lives we think are too sensitive for someone else to manage. We easily compartmentalize certain areas God can, others He cannot
- But why would you want to still hold on to your integrity? First because God will give you resources for your situation, HE renews your strength. The situation may not change but He gives you the strength that you need to succeed in your situation. But secondly God gives you a new perspective, He helps us arise above our situation and see it as He sees it. The truth remains that God is able- we can depend on him, He is willing and we can trust him. When we let go of depending on ourselves and learn to depend on God’s sovereignty and wisdom, God gives us His perspective and we discover a different level of living.
Kazi imeanza… we praise God that the work has begun, it will mean a journey of continual trust in the Lord, because like He said…It is not by might or power or by human wisdom or even by our abilities to raise the funds but by God’s spirit.
Like Job, when our masks are peeled off, do we fall down and worship. You give and take away, my heart will choose to say blessed be your name. I sense there are many of us who have gone through these times, of peeling back the mask, how have you responded. Our response should be that of Surrender, we do not know it all, we do not have it all, we totally trust in God. And continue to declare God’s truth. In the words of Max Lucado…my life is not futile, my failures are not fatal, my death is not final, my faith lives on.
Let us pray.