In Matthew 7:15, the Lord tells us to Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
In this day and age, the warning is more judicious than ever.
It’s getting harder and harder to find a religious program on tv that doesn’t end with the promise that God will absolve your mountain of debt if you just send $1000 to the televangelist.
THIS IS NOT BIBLICAL.
But that’s not what I want to discuss today.
Today we are going to talk about sheep in wolves’ clothing. You know, those lambs of the world that have been so defeated by the devil that they’ve tried to put on the wolves’ clothing to protect themselves.
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work.
I know. I’ve tried.
You aren’t fooling your family. You aren’t fooling your friends. And you certainly aren’t fooling Satan. In fact, the only person getting fooled is yourself.
Yesterday I talked about reaching that stage of life where you realize you have likely already lived more than half your life. (That Turning Point in Life) This is a time of noticing how much time and energy you waste on inconsequential things. It’s also a time to realize that all of the walls you’ve put up and masks you wear have not protected you at all. Rather they’ve turned you into a prisoner of your own making.
Once you’ve lowered the walls and removed the masks, you discover a freedom in life you never imagined. There’s a vulnerability that is ever-rewarding.
BUT DON’T STOP THERE.
Help others tear down walls. Lend support as they remove their masks. Share your own stories of freedom. But most of all, notice the pain around you.
Sometimes it’s covered with a smile.
Or a busy schedule.
It may be as obvious as the photo above. A scared, hurting person aggressively attacking those around him. Just a costume of sorts.
Sometimes it’s a little harder to detect.
I heard the song Does Anybody Hear Her? a few years ago. I remembered that feeling of looking around me at church searching for the freedom I could see etched in the faces of the women around me. I wanted that hope that was tucked away in them.
I had no idea how to get it. I wasn’t even sure where to start.
But the Lord knew exactly what I needed and how to make it happen.
My oldest had just started a part-time preschool and I was working on getting my teaching degree. My hours were varied and I needed occasional help with picking her up. I went to church with the mothers of three of her classmates, three godly women who I equally admired and envied. These women had not gone down the rabbit hole of addiction and destruction like I had so they were the embodiment of the grown-up woman I had always aspired to be as a child. I was enamored.
And I was shocked when they invited me to join their carpool. I wasn’t even close to being in their league, or so I thought.
But over the next year I got to know these women well. Through play dates and long summer swim days, I discovered that their lives were not top-shelf-china-doll flawless; these were real women with real struggles and diverse pasts.
Because the truth is, it’s not where any of us came from but where we are that matters.
That was when I received my first glimpse of hope.
It didn’t matter where I’d been. It mattered where I was. And where I was going.
The first time one of these ladies told me she admired ME was the day I got my first wrinkle of freedom in MY face. It was then that I began to think that maybe I, too, had something to offer other women.
For them, that year may only be the year their firstborns started preschool. But for me, it was a new beginning. It was the year God sent three beautiful women to show me the essence of a godly woman and to let me know that I was one as well.
Build someone up.
Let someone know you believe in them.
Help them become free.
Listen to DOES ANYBODY HEAR HER by Casting Crowns…