Mask Off

Mask removal cover

Baby blue cloth rested over my face, sealing in the moisture exhaling from my nose and mouth. I put a mask on. Felt the claustrophobia… The disconnection… That comes from hiding.

Eyes beaming across the way. Sets of eyeballs peering back around me, the only remnants left of the faces in a crowd. It’s a pandemic they say and you must “cover yourself or else…”.

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered ourselves when death loomed.

The garden of Eden saw the first display.

Fig leaves sewn with threads of grass. A covering made to shield oneself from the onslaught of a contagion… darkness had invaded. Fear crept in. Shame. Paranoia. Purity had been tainted. The world compromised.

Adam and Eve made the first coverings the world had ever seen, right after the deadliest contagion entered the garden.

“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:7

Within a matter of minutes uninhibited freedom metamorphosizes into panic.

The ones who walked freely in the garden naked now afraid for their lives as the contagion grew closer… and God felt distant.

We’re seeing a repeat of the garden of Eden with the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has catapulted the world into a global anarchy over a disease we were not created to fear. I walk into a grocery store and almost everyone is covered up. Guarded. On edge. Unrest in the air. Lack of connection between the passers-by. I can sense confusion and increased autonomy at play… and I see that these masks are not helping the problem at all, they are only adding fuel to the fire on a disease that is much less deadly than the media makes it out to be.

History shows us that freedom does not result from covering ourselves, it comes from exposing ourselves.

When we expose who we are to God heart, mind, soul and body, He delights to cover us with His spirit.

We were not created to wear masks.

We were created to thrive in fierce courage and radiate the image of God. The devil attempts to kill, steal and destroy the image of God. It’s time we stand firm against that, and operate in God’s truth.

When we live according to the Lord’s freedom and not the world’s, we live vibrantly and fully.

Adam and Eve experienced a freedom none of us have experienced on this side of earth before sin entered. For a short time they walked with God unhibited and unashamed, naked and competley exposed before the Lord in heart, soul, body and mind. Pure and good.

Adam and Eve felt the trauma of losing it all with on bite.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

I think that’s why they went to hide behind the fig leaves. They didn’t know how to operate in an environment where their freedom had been stolen and all they could feel deep down in their chest was this new feeling of guilt and shame they’d never felt before.

Combine this with a brand new awareness of good and evil… it amplified their knowledge of who God was… they knew how powerful He was… and they had not yet made a mistake to know how God would react to them. They were afraid for their lives.

Flesh instincts set in on the spot. Instincts they never possessed before that apple infected their system with irrational thinking and abnormal behavior. It wasn’t the apple, it was the unveiling of the spiritual reality there exists both good and evil in the world.

The exposure to good and evil contaminated their whole being, including their brain.

What this passage tells us about human psychology at the outset is that when our eyes our open to the dichotomy of good and evil, it traumatizes the human mind. We were not created to endure the spiritual world of darkness on our own.

Right now the whole world senses there exists something beyond the world we see… whether they believe in God or not… and I think the mask frenzy is just a reflection of that paranoia… a paranoia that inflates illogically when our core is not rooted in God.

In fact, I heard the news say weeks ago… “We’re not waiting on someone to ride in on a white horse and save us…”

My heart ached when I heard that. To know that so many people feel hopeless and disconnected from God is a heartbreaking. He has so much love to give us…

What we’re seeing is that when people feel hopeless without a rescuer, they resort to hiding behing the bushes and making figleaves to cover themselves from the threat they feel no one else will save them from if they don’t.

But God…

I love any phrase that starts with a “But God.” ❤️

Jesus never lets us soak in fear or shame… He is the first one to say “Do not fear…” and He always will be.

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

 Psalm 3:3

I see a world resolving to take off their masks when God comes close… mask off He says… you don’t have to hide behind that… no cloth is needed to save you… trust My heart… I got you… I got you.

God comes to find Adam and Eve.

He is going to take care them, even after their blunder with the fruit tree.

He gently calls out to them… because He is a God of personal interaction.

“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10

God will never turn his back on you… Adam and Eve committed the most severe crime you could fathom… brought evil into the pure garden that would infect all of humanity… but God comes close to them.

Yet as I read more, I realized something peculiar about the passage…

Adam and Eve were not the initiators here. God was. God put them in direct proximity to the tree that would unleash havoc on the entire world…

God let them live next to it.

Wow… that is very bold of God to do. And trusting for Him to do. Why would he put them in a situation to be exposed to evil?

I asked the Lord… why did you do it? He said… I want them to be genuine.

God wants a genuine love relationship with us and that is only possible when we can freely choose that… or not choose that.

So He meant for the tree to be there, so that we could go through this process called life on earth where we get to experience God for ourselves and so choose if we want him in our lives.

God does not shield us from darkness, He gives us the choice to choose who we will serve.

A good Father doesn’t shelter you from the world.

He lets you be exposed to it.

While simultaneously guiding you with truth and wisdom, so you can decide for yourself what kind of life you want to live… for the Lord or not for the Lord.

God wants lovers who choose Him, not beings who are forced to worship Him. He loves the angels but they are not independent beings like we are. One more reason why we are so precious to God.

We are a brilliant works of art.

Made for Him to love in an authentic way.

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

Psalm 84:2

“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9

God will not shelter us from every virus that penetrates the earth’s atmosphere. Will we still trust in Him when it comes? If we do, it positions us to make authentic choices in how we want to live and follow God.

Giving us the opportunity to choose how we will react and respond to the threat of death now that we have eternal life offered to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no more death…

It’s imperative to see beyond the spiritual warfare and fight against the enemy’s scare tactics by standing on God’s truth not the world’s truth.

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” Ephesians 6:14

If we do not stand firm, rise up and live according to what God mandates, we are on the brink of seeing the devil have his heyday with our people.

We’ve come too far to regress back to the fig leaves we once sewn for ourselves in the beginning of time when we feel afraid.

Masks are a reflection of a warped sense of peace and misplaced trust.

Masks are a bandwagon solution that the devil knows will distract us away from our true source of protection and that is God. 

Masks are an attack on human connection, identity and freedom.

Masks distract our eyes away from God and focuses it on the problem at hand, where all you can see is a sea of imageless humans covered up.

It’s an assault on the image of God.

The only other entity that requires to wear face coverings is Islam.

I studied it in depth in college and have always been heartbroken by the injustice towards these women. Women in these cultures are denied civil liberties and freedoms. Required to cover their hair and face. Their beauty masked by men who cloak themselves in power to cover their own sexual exploitation and corrupt governance. Sexual abuse is highest in these cultures from what I’ve studied.

Coverings meant to conceal identity and human dignity are a satanic influence.

And it’s time we shine a light on it for what it is.

P.S. If you are a health-care worker and must wear a mask for medical purposes that is quite a different scenario and understandable. That is not what I am addressing here.

Masks worn out of fear and/or force is a result of satanic influence and is slowly killing the image of God.

Some believe covering our faces for short time will protect us from death… but it’s on enslaving us to a greater evil. When you cover up who you are, you slowly die on the inside. And our world needs rescuing from this evil… empowered to radiant the glory of the One who made us.

Satan is “the most crafty beast of the field” after all… Genesis 3:1 makes that clear before the fruit blunder ensues.

The devil knows just how to make you think what you’re doing is helping when its only destroying.

“Did God really say?” He will whisper with a deceptive grin (Genesis 3:1).

Don’t fall for it.

How do you know what is truly good and purely helps? You ask God personally. And read His Word so that it gets into your heart and mind.

Ask God what is right and true… and it often will put you at more risk to follow God than not to follow God. Follow Him anyway.

Masks are also creating a second tier of isolation amidst the isolation. No one carries a conversation at the stores like we used to. We’re made to stand far apart and our faces covered at the mouth.

You can’t see the smile of someone’s face nor acknowledge another’s worth.

We’re all hidden from one another.

And where human disconnection is present, dehumanization follows.

That is one of the reasons we see so much unrest and violence in the Middle East where women are devalued and made to cover their whole bodies.

The leaders have conditioned themselves to not value people’s dignity.

Thus they have become desensitized to harming others.

If you know anything about underground terrorizing tactics used by the military and Pentagon, they cover their subjects faces when they torture them so that they don’t have to look them in they eye when they cause harm.

It’s proven that interacting with a person whose face is covered makes you unable to connect with them as a full human being.

Masks are also perpetuating individualism. An ideal culture has actually been positively trying to counteract with more community.

If we thought American autonomy, independence and individualism was prevalent before, masks and social distancing is only amplifying that. Making people live independently with no need of the other.

If the devil wanted to destroy community and human connection this is how he would do it. Through subtle distancing. Face coverings. Over time. To make us settle into that new normal.

Don’t be deceived…

And in knowing all of this… don’t fear either.

Knowledge is power. Being aware of this is good. So that we don’t fall prey to the mind games of the devil.

In this coronavirus, everyone must choose who they will serve: good or evil.

Disclaimer: Good often costs you… because the masses aren’t willing to be brave and do what is right when it puts their life at risk. But you are not one of the masses… you are a radiant lover of the Lord, emboldened with courage to rise up and follow Him.

Choosing the Lord even when it costs me has never been a regret of mine.

eyes to the night

I’d give up my life

to stand by your side

with your hand in mine

my Jesus

is love my heart can’t deny

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

It’s okay to be exposed to evil. To feel the tension of light vs darkness all around you. That was God’s intent. But now that you have been, what do you choose?

God created you with a brilliant mind to perceive the world around you and ask Him to show you what is true amidst what’s wrong…

King Solomon asked the Lord to give him wisdom to discern between good and evil.

Then His kingdom reigned in peace because of it. “Therefore give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil.” 1 Kings 3:9

When you know the difference between wrong and right, and desire to walk in good over evil, it is a pure contagion of goodness to everyone around you.

On the flipside, walking in good over evil can put your life at risk when you live in a kingdom where leadership doesn’t abide by good over evil the way Solomon did. Esther knew this reality when requested to fight for her people’s rescue in Persia.

It put her life at risk… and this was her response.

“Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

Will we follow good over evil even when it puts our life in jeopardy?

Or will we succumb to peer pressure from leaders who have made it clear who they serve… and its not the God of truth. It’s the God of fear and paranoia.

May we remain fixed on the axis of the One who painted the stars in place. The God who lit up the night with the radiance of the sun.

wonder abounds in glimmers

like the aurora of northern lights

like roses falling

from the sky

in You

i’m satisfied

After the tree blunder I can only imagine how much more intimate Adam and felt with God. They had just lost it all… and lost none of God. They got to experience what it feels like to be forgiven and still loved.

Fear and panic can’t penetrate when we know we are completely loved by our Creator.

No more hiding was needed. Fig leaves obliterated as God made them new clothes… and it cost him something to do so. God made animal skin coverings for them, showing Adam and Eve they were worth a life. They may have brought death into the world but God was willing to take that death and use it to cover them. Foreshadowing the ultimate death sacrifice that would cover the whole world forever… Jesus Christ.

His love covers us…

Shine your beauty.

Gift the world your strengths.

Show us your smile and joy.

Radiate the Lord’s spirit.

It’s time to take the mask off. Baby blue cloth you’re time is up. Mask off, like the rapper Future so aptly put it. Mask off.

face to face

I see your smile

You say I’m beautiful

Your delight

just one of many

diamonds bright

in a world of gems

You made to shine

 

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

Numbers 6:24-26

 

 

 

natalieedwards18

lifeandgod.com Twitter: @paladinnat

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