They’re everywhere you look. Magazines, TV, YouTube, FACEbook, everywhere. Usually the first thing you will see or at least really notice are faces. Your own face looking back at you from the bathroom mirror is probably the first thing you actually look at when you get out of bed. And getting said face into shape via shaving or make-up is undoubtedly one of our most cherished and important morning activities.
When you meet someone for the first time, their face will be the center of your attention. It gets the major role in first impressions. It will be how you remember and are remembered when you meet again. Our countenance can make us either beautiful or ugly.
What makes the Mona Lisa so mysterious? Her face. What launched a thousand ships? The face of Helen of Troy. A model can make a fortune from her face alone. In fact, it’s probably safe to say the human race is extremely face-centric. And we should be.
We show our emotions through our facial expressions. The eyes are the windows of the soul. We speak with our mouths and also with our eyes. Our faces, in short, are our communication centers. And we all have one.
Or do we?
We try to put on our best face before we leave the house. When we have an important meeting or interview, we put on our ‘game-face’. If we’re ‘facing’ a problem, we set our face ‘like flint’. If there’s a situation we’d rather not talk about, we ‘put a good face on it’. We’re told to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’, and our chin up. Never let them see you cry.
During the course of your average day, how many different faces do you suppose you wear? There may be one for your spouse, another for your boss, maybe several for your various co-workers, and if you’re a christian, there’s one more. Your ‘church-face’.
You know the one I mean. We all do it.
It’s the face that always smiles, never says anything that could be even remotely interpreted as base or vulgar, and agrees with everyone else in the immediate vicinity. Generally this face is always ‘fine’ or ‘blessed’ when asked, and never utters a discouraging word.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for keeping things positive, uplifting, encouraging, and agreeable. What I’m addressing is the fear of what others will think if we drop our guard for even a moment. And this is what it’s really all about, isn’t it?
We change our faces because we are afraid.
We are afraid of what others will think. We are afraid of how we’ll ‘look’. We are afraid we will not be found worthy of friendship or fellowship, and be rejected. We are afraid that if people knew the ‘real me’, that would pretty much be the end of it.
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus isn’t just talking about acts of charity here, but rather a mindset and a lifestyle. It’s in the act of putting everything else aside, and laying everything down that concerns ‘me, myself, and I’, and living for others. This is where you will find your true self. This is what you were created to do. We are not here just to take up space. We are here to heal the broken-hearted, and speak freedom to the captives.
When we stop living for ourselves, and start to live for others, we can stop wearing all those faces. It won’t matter any more what other people think or even say about you. You will be free of fear. As you become more like Christ, you become the real person you were intended to be. You and I will have our own face, our true face, and that face will be reflected by the face of God.