One of our greatest and deepest human needs is to be naked.
We were not created to hide ourselves, whether behind clothes, possessions, achievements, or titles. Nor were we made to hide behind silence, small talk, anger, a smile, or busyness.
We were made to be naked and unashamed, yet in this fallen world, we also know instinctively we need to be clothed, to be covered somehow. We’re not in Eden anymore.
Even in a culture like ours where bodies are flaunted, and used to attract or to sell, we cover more than we expose. It doesn’t take much to discern that much of our obsession with body size, weight, and shape is not about health, but about trying to cover feelings of inadequacy or shame. It’s possible to hide behind nakedness, too.
Our eternal longing to return to our naked and unashamed beginnings cannot be shaken. But neither can our need to be clothed. We live with an inner conflict and we feel it.
We make the same mistake our first forefather and foremother made. Their best efforts (sewing fig leaf coverings, hiding among the trees, blaming others for their choices) could not restore the freedom they felt before.
We do the same when we believe we can cover ourselves adequately. We cannot.
I think Adam and Eve’s original experience of nakedness felt like they were completely exposed and also completely covered. Not concealed, but covered. God’s glory, His protection, and His love covered them. And their love and honor one for the other also covered them.
Our meager attempts at looking like we have it together physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. can’t hold a candle to what they experienced.
We cannot shake that we were made for what they once knew.
There is only one way for us now. It’s not posing or posturing. It’s not religious perfectionism, financial success, well-behaved kids, a growing church, or a fitness program. (And just to be clear, it’s not nudism.)
We must allow God Himself to clothe us.
First, be gentle with yourself when it comes to any shame you feel. Acknowledge it to yourself, to God, and to those closest to you.
Second, admit your inadequate attempts to make yourself “naked and unashamed.”
Third, allow yourself to be naked in front of Jesus. Come to Him acknowledging your needs, fears, sins, and deepest longings. Don’t decide for Him how He will respond to you. Leave room for Him to respond as He will. (And know however He responds, His response will never be to strip or shame you further.)
It was He who let Himself be stripped and shamed for our sake on the Cross. In a very real way through the Cross, He clothes us with Himself.
If we’ll let Him. This isn’t a one time event. Daily, we must come naked and let Him clothe us.
And as we walk this way with Him, we become those with whom others also can be again naked and unashamed.
Leave a comment below.
Oh my goodness, Josh … again, you cut straight to the heart of the matter. Thank you for sharing us what the Holy Spirit shares with you.
This really struck me:
“Don’t decide for Him how He will respond to you. Leave room for Him to respond as He will. (And know however He responds, His response will never be to strip or shame you further.)”
Wow. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t trust Jesus in His response to my honesty and “nakedness” before Him. I realize that I expect Him to hate me, be disappointed in me, punish me. Despite all the Scripture and theology I know, those sentences of yours are deeply challenging to me.
Please pray for me, Josh. God, have mercy on me.
Yep — straight to the heart. Just this morning I was “un- burdening” myself to the Lord about overeating and being unable to lose weight. How many years have I talked with Him about this? But I never thought of my preoccupation with and obsession with weight as “shame”. I know you hit the nail on the head because the very word brought tears. I AM hiding and I don’t want to. Now I know how to go to Jesus. I think I had come to believe that He couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything to help. But I see I have been holding Him off. Time to explore WITH Him that shame and where it is coming from. Thank you, Josh.
This is awesome! Thank you for posting this, a good teaching for the heart! I definitely will copy and save in my documents (if that’s OK with you) for furhter discussion in a home group or simply for a good talk with fellows that may need encouragement and support.
Josh this is good and you should copyright it.
Most mornings I confess my sins and see myself as a beggar covered with sores in the brambles and I let Him come and clothe me with the Wedding Garments and I go into the feast of Communion with Him in Prayer. After He meets my needs. I Listen and He has needs. He says” “I Thirst” He grieves for his loved ones and I ask for whom and what can I pray. He restores us that we might function as Priest, Prophet and King. Our Faith is not about self fullfillment but in meeting the needs of others we are filled. Your blog today is very scriptural.
Perfectly written. How should I truthfully respond,m
Perfectly written. How should I truthfully respond?