Nerd alert: There is a part of superhero movies and comic books that always annoys me. It’s the part where the hero falls in love with a girl and then reveals his secret identity to them.
Don’t they realize what this means? It instantly makes them vulnerable. Now an enemy can capture the girl and hold them for ransom. Now he has to second guess risks that might cost him his life because he has to think about how it affects his love interest. It changes everything. But without fail, they do it.
Why? Because comic book and movie writers know that deep down, we all want to “remove the mask” of who we are convincing everyone we are and be known and accepted for who we really are. They are simply connecting the story to that common human desire.
Nerd alert concluded.
For those who have come to faith in Christ, there is now a freedom to remove our own masks. We all have things we are trying to convince others that we are: strong, independent, smart, good-looking, deep, wealthy, spiritual, relevant, hip, cool, humble. Doing this takes work. A lot of work. It takes money invested in the right clothes, gadgets, education, etc. It takes time devoted to the right concerts, exercise, activities, etc. And it takes an emotional toll, which we don’t always realize, because we are putting a lot of faith in things that ultimately can’t deliver and will eventually let us down and devastate us.
Galatians 2:20 shows us a new path.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
That old self, with the need to wear the mask, is dead. Now, Christ lives in us, and His perfect life is ours. We live an exchanged life.
So we are free to take off the mask and let people see all of us because it doesn’t matter anymore what they think. We are comfortable with our weaknesses, failures, and insecurities because we know we’re valuable and loved and accepted in Christ. We can even rejoice boast in them, laughing about how we used to get so afraid and insecure. Christ gives us what we sought from all of those things that never could deliver. The masks can come off now. You can be who you are. And that is one of the most liberating places we can ever be.
That doesn’t mean it is easy to do. Every day, we so quickly forget what Christ has done for us. We have to open God’s Word in the Scriptures and drink in this Good News every day. As the hymn writer said, we are “prone to wander” and we have to ask God to gently seal our hearts and lead us back to Him. We also have to help each other do this, which is why Christian fellowship is so important. Sometimes we can’t find our own way back, and we need others to point us there. This is one of the beautiful things that God gives us in the Church. We spur one another on toward Christ!
So, next time you’re watching a superhero movie and Spider-Man is about to foolishly tell his crush that he’s a crime-fighting vigilante with superpowers, remember: firstly, that this is a movie and so rules of reality don’t apply; and secondly, that he’s only doing what we all are made to do, and what we are finally freed to do in Christ. That’s something worth praising God for.