"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
May 15, 2019
Today I'm going to write about "nakedness". For real!!
There is an appropriate time to be clothed and an appropriate time to be naked. When we are out and about, we should be clothed. If not, we'll be arrested. When we're mowing our lawn our outside where the neighbors can see us, we need to wear clothing. Inside our homes, clothing may or may not be an option.
We live on a busy street with continuous traffic going by. The part of our living room where we sit, no one can really see in unless they walk up to our windows and look inside. But if we have the blinds open at night with the lights on, then those passing by could see us if we were up walking around. In our bedroom, we have blackout curtains that stay closed all the time, so no one can see us; so dressing and undressing is done privately and we don't have to worry about any neighbors seeing into our windows.
The one time that we assuredly are always naked is in the shower. We opt to bathe naked so we can wash every part of our body and get clean. That is a good idea for everyone!
When Jon was in college, there were students in his dorm from another country. Their "religion" forbid them to ever be completely unclothed, so they never showered. As you can imagine, Jon said that they had a bad odor all the time.
Talking about nakedness is something that makes many people uncomfortable; for many different reasons.
There are two aspects of this spiritually; for real! I know that you all are intelligent people, but know that I am not speaking of physical nakedness when writing this; I am in no way referring to being a nudist. But I am specifically referring to internal exposure where all is laid bare and nothing hidden from God.
First of all, I'm going to talk about being naked spiritually. I believe that something that many christians (and sinners alike) struggle with are internal issues that we want to hide. It may be temptations that we struggle with, but don't want anyone to know about. It may be feelings of guilt, condemnation, or being worthless that we battle; possibly due to past sins and repercussions. Perhaps it's anger, unforgiveness, or holding a grudge against someone that keeps us feeling agitated inside and we are always struggling with choosing to let go and not take it back up again. It may be a habit or addiction that has a controlling affect on our lives and it feels overwhelming and too hard to overcome. Perhaps it's an anger and temper issue that causes us to act and speak hurtful words to others. It may be an attitude; whether it be jealousy, being judgmental, selfishness, pride, etc.
Sometimes we have things tucked away in the corner of our heart that we struggle with and have a hard time fully surrendering it to God. We may sing, "I surrender all," but what we really mean is, "I surrender everything, except for this." Comparatively, it may not seem like it's a big deal when we balance it against someone else's sins and short-comings; or at least that is how we justify it. But it's still there, all the same; and we try to keep it hidden and secret.
In Genesis 3:7-8 we read about the response of Adam and Eve after they disobeyed God and sinned by eating from the forbidden tree. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."
This scripture is speaking of literal nakedness. But here's the thing: they had no idea that they were naked and needed to cover themselves until they sinned. Up to that point, they walked and talked and fellowshipped unashamedly with their Father. When sin entered into their lives, they then saw themselves as needing to cover up and hide from God.
We often do the same internally. When we've sinned or are battling something that we know we need to repent and let go of (such as unforgiveness, anger, bad attitude, etc), we often try and hide that from God. We feel exposed and "naked" and guilty, especially when we are in church and worship is happening and the presence of the Lord is felt. We will pray about other things and sing worship songs and read our Bible; but that one area we try and tuck away without dealing with it.
Don't you think that God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were hiding? He saw them sin, he saw their shame and the revelation that they were naked, he saw them frantically hunting around to find something to sew together so that they could cover themselves. And when God came down for their usual daily walk, he came to the exact place where they were hidden and asked, "Where are you?" He knew where they were, but wanted them to reveal themselves to him.
We can never hide anything from God. Never! He sees all, knows all, and nothing can be secreted from him. He knows what we have tucked away in our heart. He will come and ask, "What's that you're hiding?" We can act as if we don't hear him, ignore, him, and try to change the subject; but we know and God knows what needs to be uncovered and dealt with.
I believe that one of the greatest, most vulnerable prayers we can pray is, "God, I open myself up to you. Here is my body, mind, soul, and spirit completely naked before you, so that you can see everything inside me. Nothing hidden! No hidden sins, motives, or thoughts; no excuses or justifications. Nothing tucked away out of sight. Cleanse every part of me and wash me with your blood so that I will be white as snow. My desire is to live before you, naked and unashamed!"
I Corinthians 4:5 (TPT) says, "So resist the temptation to pronounce premature judgement on anything before the appointed time when all will be fully revealed. Instead, wait until the Lord makes his appearance, for he will bring all that is hidden in darkness to light and unveil every secret motive of everyone's heart. Then, when the whole truth is known, each will receive praise from God."
1John 1:5 says, "This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you; God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth."
When we are close to the Light, Jesus, then anything that may be dark within us will be revealed. Anything hidden will be brought to light and need to be dealt with. If not, then we will find ourselves drawing away from God, instead of clinging close to Him and desiring a close, intimate relationship with Him.
If we find ourselves drawing away from God in any way, justifying and excusing behavior and attitudes, or hiding spiritually then that's a pretty good sign that we are attempting to cover something hidden within our heart, mind, soul, or spirit.
But if we can honestly say, "Here I am, God, completely naked and unashamed before you!", then that is when we will truly grow and mature spiritually. We can joyfully expose everything within us to Him, nothing hidden, and truly enjoy fellowshipping and walking with God. We will revel in being close to the Light and allowing it to shine on all areas of our life.
(Next week I will write part two, about being clothed.)
Okay, I think I'll share something about myself that I usually would never write or even talk about. But sometimes I have my best prayer time in the shower. It's a time I feel at my most vulnerable. And that makes a great time to bare my heart and soul to God.
Okay, I know it sounds odd, and uncomfortable, but try it.
Boneless Chicken Breasts, chopped
Red Grapes, cut in fourths
Boil chicken breasts until tender; cool, debone, and chop. Or do it the easy way like I do and buy a rotisserie chicken, debone and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add Hellmann's Mayonnaise (the real stuff taste so much better), chopped celery, and grapes that have been cut into fourths. Mix until good consistency. Serve on croissants.
***This is my favorite chicken salad! But Jon doesn't care for grapes in his chicken salad, so when making it for the two of us, instead of using grapes I use diced boiled eggs.
It is funny how occasionally something will trigger a childhood memory. My sisters and I were messaging about a homemade chocolate cake that mama used to make. Part of the recipe calls for cocoa mixed with hot water to make a paste before adding to the batter. One of my sisters said that she remembers mama doing that. She remembers sticking her finger in the cup after she emptied it out every time she made the cake, and was always disappointed that it tasted so bitter. You would have thought that she would have learned. Another sister said that she remembers tasting the cocoa and water mixture, too, thinking that maybe it would taste different and be better than it was last time.
I remember taking a sip of vanilla one time because I thought it smelled good. I was so surprised that something that smelled good could taste so bad.
Two of my sisters remember sneaking around and eating the chocolate ex-lax. One sister had to miss school the next day after doing that due to "issues". She told her second grade teacher that she had missed school because she "had diary". The teacher corrected her that it was "diarrhea". She was so embarrassed! But that is how our mama pronounced it; "diary", not "diarrhea". LOL
If God could close the mouth of the lions for Daniel, part the red seas for Moses,
make the sun stand still for Joshua, open the prison for Peter,
put a baby in the arms of Sarah, and raise Lazarus from the dead
THEN He can certainly take care of you!
NOTHING you are facing today is too hard for Him to handle. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon