Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Way Of Freedom

Relational navigation by mask is this world’s required skill for acceptance. Of course, acceptance means a terrible cover-up (particularly for the sons and daughters of God) and painful frustration because we’re not actually ourselves. Relational navigation by mask is one of the biggest causes of failure in people today. That it is practiced and even encouraged amongst the church is surely one of Satan’s greatest achievements.

But there are many of us wearied of it all. So in sometimes private “ceremonies” of bitter anger and disappointment, and in sometimes public “ceremonies” of obvious failure, we come out of hiding to authenticity, no matter the result, no matter the cost.

When the “ceremony” is met with applause by others walking in freedom, genuine fellowship is the result and the glory of the church is radiant. The powerful temptation and terrible grip of the mask of pretense is broken for the first and most important time. After that, the community of the free prefer each other in truth, and that faith-filled preference means rampant grace for all. Until then, grace is perverted into something earned or doled out in measured affirmation—and no one is truly transformed because no one is true.

In the community of the free, we are God’s workmanship, and that becomes most evident and most joyful when we lower the mask and drop the tools of pretense. And suddenly we are discovered, even to ourselves, to be quite stunning after all.

I see increasing evidence that more and more of us are on the way of freedom.


  1. Heather Norman12:36 PM

    wow! such great news!

  2. Kathy DesVoigne12:37 PM

    Yes,-Being Authentic sets other people free! Be who God created you to be... You're His ONE and only,‎'s like you are giving them "permission" to be themselves.

  3. Julie Belshe12:37 PM

    Freedom to all the unmasked! I don't like seeing any of my Christian brothers or sisters in them. I never look good with one ever in God's eyes. It would be an insult to God to cover up what He wants to proudly display, His unique creation of all of us in all of us. We are HIS workmanship, not our own! I also hope that more will take off that mask of who they are not and just shine as a living light for God! Right On Ralph!

  4. Scott Heine12:37 PM

    Well said, Ralph. It's amazing what God accomplishes in glorious light, truth, vulnerability, and authenticity. What a tremendous opportunity we have as a community to provide settings of freedom and grace.

  5. I'm loving your comments! It always encourages me to know that people are aware that God is working toward freedom in and through them. Hooray!

  6. Brian Hearon12:45 PM

    Amen Ralph Amen!!!!

  7. Steven Olive1:01 PM

    Amen Ralph thanks for posting this truth freedom is glorious!

  8. Debra McDougald Baker1:24 PM

    Right on! :)

  9. Dave Geisler2:04 PM

    Love it Ralph...I'm with you and Paul on that one...Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  10. Cliff Gableman2:22 PM

    it's hard to believe how long some of us spent tethered to the bondwoman, I never thought freedom could be sooooo liberating. Praise God the religious veil has finally been lifted! Thanks Ralph!

  11. Cliff--let's throw her out! And help others do the same.

  12. Karen Fries3:02 PM

    Good stuff, Ralph!!!

  13. Kathleen Quinn Lubahn3:02 PM

    Good stuff! :D

  14. Jeanne Schlumbohm9:26 AM

    This is so good. This is where God is leading us in our relationships, for I can no longer settle for anything less. Anything less is a psuedo relationship.

  15. Ivy Reain9:27 AM

    It seems natural for some people to wear a mask im me thats who i want to be and also the person god created me be

  16. Cliff Gableman9:28 AM

    Yes Ralph, how this message is expanding within, I truly want to clearly demonstrate HIS freedom to so many held captive. The place of freedom is so spacious!

  17. Rich Novek9:28 AM

    Thanks Ralph! And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.(Hebrews 4:13) I used to avoid this passage and others like it because I believed if I opened myself up to God that I would ultimately be rejected by Him. This was because I believed in the "mixed" gospel of Grace...AND! I NOW know the truth, which is Christ IN me as my One and only reality. And instead of this passage being something to fear, I Now see it as a wonderful invitation to freely release whatever I am holding on to, so I can enter into His Rest!

  18. Tina Willis9:29 AM

    One is only as sick as their secrets. Giving up the mask can be seen as the most frightening thing to a person, but ends up being the most liberating, life transforming freedom! Uh, aside from Jesus, that is : )

  19. Thanks very much for commenting, everyone. So rich!

  20. Don Geser9:39 AM

    ‎"Relational navigation by mask" is a very good description. This sort of unbridled freedom to "be yourself" spiritually is a refreshing change to the lock and chain theology of religion. It's knowing where we stand in Jesus before God that gives freedom to our lives. But freedom can become a mask as well. Relational navigation by the mask of freedom can be just another enforced congregational dress code. Something we put on for the "free" and remove during self examination. For some, it becomes more of a "best foot forward" than a walk filled with God's grace. The freedom that is contained within the grace of God requires work. It requires renewing. It requires faith. It isn't enough to proclaim the promise of gracious freedom from God through Calvary. Blind unfulfilled proclamation discredits His grace, it separates us from His favor. Grace (freedom) must be cherished, displayed, and cared for. If it is not, freedom will return to religion and the bondage of looking and thinking and acting to empress the rest. Ralph, thank you for your hard work, your words of encouragement, and your freedom in Jesus. You help us keep our hearts centered where they belong, within the grace of God. You are a blessing.

  21. André van der Merwe9:50 AM

    There is so much liberty outside of the gates of institutionalism. There is a vast expand of the Kingdom that can never be explored from inside the restraints of formalism, programs, budgets and buildings.

    I think I've read more into this than most people who have commented here - but that's what I got out of it.

    Loved it Ralph. Every single bit of it ;-)

  22. Marie Louise Cassidy9:51 AM

    Great note Ralph! AMEN!!!

  23. Rudy Rodriguez9:51 AM

    Awesome note Ralph! Amen! So true!

  24. Ron Wood9:52 AM

    I was thinking on this.
    I hope you can indulge me;
    As I've walked with Christ I've learned to value what He says about me more than what I think or feel. This has had a most excellent result, as I began to walk in who He says I am. In becoming who He says I am, I, in one sense died, and in another came to life (Zoe).
    I have no doubt who the real Ron is: in Christ I have peace, joy, and a heart overflowing. That's Him, the eternal one. But as He takes over I become more myself, all the while dying. Lol. It may sound kooky, but it will make total sense to anyone who knows what I am talking about.
    In dying I live.
    In submission I am free.
    It's both amazing and awesome. I am so grateful.
    God's word is good. His promises; real. For anyone.
    I am here to testify to the greatness of God, and to the integrity of His Word.
    I have learned that no matter what the question, no matter what the problem, the Holy Spirit both has and is the answer. When I seek the answer the problem or reason loses significance.
    I no longer have a BIG problem and a small God. I have a really BIG God, and He's capable to care for that which I entrust to Him.
    So, suffice it to say this: I have become solution oriented. I no longer have to analyze and reverse- engineer the anatomy of my failing. I only need seek God. And He oftentimes reveals details I would have never been aware of.
    As my friend says; "I don't care what the question is, Jesus is the answer.

  25. Steve Elsmore9:53 AM

    Love it! All great comments too. Really think this would make a great slogan "rampant grace for all" Great stuff!!! Maybe a few caps would help : Rampant Grace for All!!!

  26. John P. Cwynar9:53 AM

    ‎"...when we lower the mask and drop the tools of pretense." Sorry Ralph but some of us have difficulty with multitasking.:))) Great post!

  27. Kimberley Robertson9:54 AM