Have you ever had a dream in which you are at some kind of a social event where everyone you know is present and then you realize to your horror that you are naked? I know that a lot of people either have had, or regularly have a dream like this, and I’m sure that psychologists have an explanation of its significance; maybe it’s feelings of inadequacy or insecurity or… who knows? I do know, however, that for a great many people, that is one of the scariest scenarios imaginable, right up there with public speaking. The truth is that the way we dress affords a certain sense of security for most people; it’s a statement of who we are, how we think of ourselves, or even who we want others to think we are. If that costume or uniform is suddenly taken away and we are seen by others as we truly are, the whole façade is gone…
Mark Twain once quipped that if all government officials were required to be naked when at their jobs, all oppression would cease. I’m not really sure, but I do suspect that if we walked into a government office and found ourselves dealing with naked people, their attitudes would probably be a lot more humble than they usually are.
The whole idea of being naked before God is found in these things, for to be naked before God is to achieve a state of mind and spirit in which we are in humble submission before Him. We would have no secrets, we would be unable to convince ourselves that there could ever be anything we could either hide or keep from Him. It would be a state in which we would become entirely real in His presence; no airs, nothing withheld, nothing covered up, and for sure, nothing avoided. In a very real sense, it would be as though we lived back at the very beginning of time, when Mankind lived in perfect harmony and fellowship with God, when:
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically, even though in the case of Adam and Eve it was literal. You see, you don’t actually have to be undressed to be naked before God. In reality, that’s how He sees all of us all of the time anyway, for no one can hide anything from God, not our thoughts, not even our innermost motivations.
I’ve been doing this longer than I sometimes like to remember, and right here in the conversation there’s usually someone who jumps in to tell us about their amazing spiritual life, how many hours each day they pray, how much incredible time they spend in the Word, how they put Christ first and ‘self’ last in all things, and generally how much farther along they are than everyone else. As I say, I’ve been at this a very long time, certainly long enough to recognize that the ones who really are far along in the Journey never talk like that. Like the Apostle Paul, they are quick to admit how much farther they still need to go.
For most of us, the idea of baring all before God is a daunting one at first; for sure it’s humbling, but don’t worry, humbling is the whole point.
OK, yes, this discussion has probably gone on long enough for today, so I’ll leave you with a little exercise. Please do not share your answers, it’s just for you. Suppose you were in a room with your 10 closest friends from church, or your 10 closest Christian friends if that works better for you. Suppose you were invited to share your testimony about Christ in front of that group, completely naked as a sign of your honesty, humility and truthfulness. The deal is that nobody will call the police, nobody will laugh, and nobody will judge you or tell anyone else about it.
Why wouldn’t you do it?
See if you can limit your reasons to 5, the 5 biggest reasons. Remember, this is just between you and you: no one else will hear your answers, because you aren’t going to tell: Be honest with yourself.
Why should you do this little exercise?
Because you will end up with a list of the 5 biggest impediments that stand between you and your relationship with God. That is the power of this metaphor, by the way.