Summary: The Holy Spirit convicts us of any form of dependency other than Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
How The Holy Spirit Helps Us Identify and Remove the Masks People Hide Behind
Mark 7:6-7:8 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
1. The Holy Spirit convicts us of any form of dependency other than Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7:6-8) Ask the Lord to help you remove any dependence on rules, regulations or traditions that hinder your allegiance to Jesus Christ.
2. The Holy Spirit exposes any reliance on culture as an excuse for yielding all our rights to God. When Jesus healed the blind man, the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. Some of the Pharisees said, "This man (Jesus) is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath. But others asked, ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs? So they were divided." (John 9:16,17) Ask the Lord to help you be willing to put aside your cultural assumptions to allow the Lord to open your eyes for ALL He wants you to see, believe and accomplish in His name.
3. The Holy Spirit leads you to put aside the mask of power, position or pride in order to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Resist the temptation to use your power, position or pride to manipulate people for your own advantage. Peter wrote, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (I Pet. 5:6) Ask the Lord to help you put aside your dependence on your power, position or pride enabling you to humbly trust the Lord to promote you in the best ways.
4. The Holy Spirit chastens us when we try to hide behind the mask of super spirituality. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight." (Luke 16:15) Ask the Lord to teach you how to be more responsive to the chastening of the Lord when you drift into a defensive Pharisaical spirituality.
5. The Holy Spirit refuses to give us a sense of satisfaction when we try to hide behind the mask of frenetic activity. Paul wrote about the Galatians, "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners." (Gal. 2:17) Ask the Lord to find your satisfaction in obeying His will, instead of trying to impress people with your frantic activities.
6. The Holy Spirit takes away His blessings from those who try to hide behind the masks of intellectualism. Paul wrote, "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." (Col. 2:3,4) Ask the Lord to help you avoid pretentious intellectual fronts that attempt to cover up insecurities, weaknesses or secret sins.
7. The Holy Spirit sends discouragement to those who try to hide behind the masks of legalism. Paul wrote, "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belong to it, do you submit to its rulers. Do not handle, Do not taste. Do not touch. These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have the appearance of wisdom, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence...Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 2:20-3:1,2) Ask the Lord to help you avoid any legalistic thinking.
8. The Holy Spirit contends with those who try to hide by the masks of popularity. Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." (Luke 6:26) Ask the Lord to help you to resist the temptation to hide behind the mask of popularity choosing instead to please God regardless of whether or not it pleases people.
9. The Holy Spirit refuses to empower those who try to hide behind the mask of emotional dramatics. Jesus said to Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these? Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo (like you)." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." (John 212:15,16) Ask the Lord to help you to avoid hiding behind any emotional dramatics in an attempt to cover over half-hearted commitment.
10. The Holy Spirit counsels leaders who try to hide behind the mask of super rationalism. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power." (I Cor. 2:4,5) Ask the Lord to help you rely more on the Spirit’s empowering than human wisdom.