21-Day Challenge: Day 11

‘Losing my religion’

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Corinthians 3:16)

th-7Veil: Whatever I hide behind that allows me to keep my fears, insecurities, sins, judgments and rationalizations to myself while at the same time giving off an impression of great spiritual depth and insight. It is necessary because I am trusting in myself and my own manipulations for my good standing among other Christians, and I cannot let anyone know the truth about me because it would ruin that good reputation I have been nursing for some time now. What compounds this charade is being in a group of people (some people call this: “church”) who are all doing the same thing, so that we all believe the veils we wear instead of the truth. The line from the song, “What Has Gone Wrong” says it all: “Is everyone here as good as they seem, or like me, are they faking it too?” Who would know? No one, unless someone tells, but that’s unlikely, because that would break the unwritten code that we don’t tell, so as to protect each other.

It’s heinous. It’s a lie. It’s a bad smell in the nostrils of God — so bad that it masks the fragrance of Christ that He is longing to smell in me and smell in the world. And how do you suppose I know so much about this wearing of veils and all the slight subtleties surrounding it? Because I am so good at it. I am one of the best — certainly the best I know, since I don’t know the real truth about anyone else.

There is a line in the 21-Day Challenge for today that Marti wrote (below) that cuts me to the quick. It certainly put me on my knees when I first read it last night. “There is no way you can show yourself how self-righteous you are.” Isn’t that the truth. We become so good at these veils that we can’t see them. Even if someone showed us, we wouldn’t believe it. I honestly think that when it comes to seeing and removing veils, we are the last to know.

“John, something stinks about you; can’t you smell that?” No, because I am the main one I have fooled, and I’m used to me. That’s why no one can take his or her own veil off. You can’t even see your own veil, much less remove it.

There’s only one way out of this mess. Turn to the Lord. “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Only the Lord can take it away, and He does it when we turn to Him.

But what does that mean? How do you turn to the Lord? What do you do when you turn to the Lord? I’m not so sure I know, except that I know you can’t fool the Lord. He sees everything and He sees through everything. You can’t hide anything from Him.

Here’s what I know about facing the Lord:

  • It’s humbling.
  • It’s frightening.
  • It’s revealing.

Do you feel that? Are you there?

And once you are in that place where you are conscious of the Lord, and you are humbled, frightened and revealed, then stay that way. When you get up off your knees, don’t stand up and walk away in your heart. Stay right with Him because He’s right there with you.

Stay humbled. Stay frightened. Stay vulnerable. Keep facing the Lord, especially when facing someone else.

Day 11 Challenge:
Paul is very clear that the nature of the darkness, the blindness that lays over the minds of the Jews of his day, which he calls a “veil,” is the same veil that Moses put over his face.

What the veil did on Moses’ face was to hide the end of the fading glory. It hid the terrible end of self-effort and the death that would result. It is deceitful, and in that deceit lays its sinfulness.

The great problem is that we are blind to these as sins. If we saw ourselves, we would see that we are wretchedly self-righteous. But we really think God approves of us. (We are just like the Pharisees whom Jesus would scorch with his words because they were so wretched in their self-righteousness.) And since we do not see these as sins, we never turn to the Lord about them. We think of them as minor indiscretions that might be a little troublesome, but they are not really sins. We believe that God is not very concerned about them because of the great self-righteous record we have in our eyes. So we never confess them; we never acknowledge them as wrong to ourselves or anybody else; we never turn to the Lord.

Therefore, the blindness is never removed. In verse 16 it says, “but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” You cannot take it off any other way; there is no way you can show yourself how self-righteous you are. You have to turn to the Lord. That is the only way it is possible. But because we do not do this, we go on year after year hurting ourselves, hurting others, and enjoying the momentary pleasure and sense of excitement we get from indulging in these attitudes. We are unaware that gradually there is coming into our lives the end of the fading glory, the death, the darkness, the emptiness, the sense of futility, the boredom, the dullness of that kind of Christianity.

Action item:
Answer this question: Is there hope for us? Why or why not? Post a selfie of you before the Lord.

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5 Responses to 21-Day Challenge: Day 11

  1. David Morgereth says:

    Great post John! Please tell us more about the “What has gone wrong song” (I googled it and couldn’t find anything about it). Who wrote and/or performs it?

  2. Markus says:

    There is hope. God knows us better than we know ourselves. When I was a little child and not a believer yet I was never able to understand why this scared people so much. They never said so, but I could feel that the idea of God knowing everything made them feel uncomfortable. Now, as an adult and as a believer I can see why this idea makes people feel uncomfortable, but I still think that these people are mistaken in their conclusions. God’s omniscience is nothing to afraid of, it is rather something to cherish because he knows everything about us and is obviously STILL willing to put up with us! Also, it means that we do not have to hide anything from him. It would not work anyway, but that is not the point. We do not need a veil. Wearing a spiritual veil in front of God is simply a waste of time and energy. We should (and can!) rather be honest with God, and that without fear. That is what I call hope.

  3. Dean says:

    This has been a very good series John. Thank you.

  4. David in AZ says:

    When will you re release The New Covenant

  5. Peter Leenheer says:

    First of all, this is very revealing and enjoyable series. Much food for thought as the saying goes, and also time for action.

    You mention how we do not really know how self righteous we are, and I agree. When I teach the youth in my church I have used the following. I ask students to think of what it means to commit pre meditated murder. We discuss this for some time. Then I ask if they commit premeditated sin themselves, not murder but some other sin. This usually silences them. Then I ask them to think of the sin that they hate doing the most, the one they want to really get rid of, the one that they would love God to take away from their repertoire of sin. They are told not to say the sin but just to think of it. Perhaps there is more than one but just concentrate on this one.
    Then when everyone has thought of that we go to the next step. Now think of when you go to commit that sin, at first you resist to some degree but soon it gets to you and you think of it all the time. Then you reach a point where you decide that you are going to do it. Then you do it.

    When you have made the choice to commit that sin and are going to do it, do you notice the following……you literally don’t care what God or anyone thinks, you are going to do it. Then when they think about that for a while, I say, “Did you notice how you did not give a damn of what God thinks about disobedience…you are going to do this no matter what and to hell with the consequences. That is how selfish you are! You do it to God, to your friends, your neighbors and yourself.

    This is very sobering to me and to the youth. This does not tell how selfish we are but it gives a pretty good indication of how deep it runs.

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