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.
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