As we approach Halloween I should confess that I have never been a costume guy. I think I stopped doing Halloween after Kindergarten because I had already decided that I was “above” playing dress up. Even as an adult my first question when invited to a Halloween party is: do we have to dress up? If yes, I am automatically busy. If my wife forces me I typically go as a Cubs fan (which is more or less what I would have worn anyway).
I may not like Halloween costumes, but throughout my life I have far too often pretended to be someone I am not. I have a feeling I am far from alone in pretendIng to be something I’m not from time to time. We men often have an acute case of this problem. We often embellish our athletic accomplishments, round up our finances, and exaggerate our successes (unless you all really do have an 18 point buck and a 118 pound bass hanging over a 15-foot Grizzly bear rug in your living room, all of which you of course killed yourself). At the very least I think most of us try to portray ourselves in ways that are not necessarily who we are. I’ll admit that I sometimes fall into portraying myself as someone who has his family, personal, and spiritual lives substantially more together then he really does. It’s a costume I put on to both impress others and to hide from the imperfections of my life.
A great example of this practice can be seen in the life of Jacob. Jacob was perpetually obsessed with having the rights of the first born son. Even in the womb he wrestled with his brother Esau for the honor. As they grew older he conspired to steal his brother’s birthright and inheritance by dressing up as him to fool their aging father. He succeeded in stealing the birthright, but never got to enjoy it. Instead, he spent the next 20 years on a running from his brother. He thought his disguise had gotten him the worldly thing he so desperately wanted, but in the end it did not bring him the joy or happiness he was looking for.
Let me be rather blunt. God cannot bless who we pretend to be, He can only bless who we truly are. We can spend a major chunk of our lives trying to impress others by projecting a certain image of who we are. In the end thats all just a fancy costume God can see right through. It’s not who God made us to be nor who He wants to use to impact the world. Paul tells us this in Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. We need to stop putting on costumes to try to impress the world with some fake version of us. Instead, we simply need to embrace the masterpiece God created us to be, trusting that God will work in us and through us.