Last time, we ended with my saying that in this next post, it would be time to look at the concept of naked before God in a practical rather than an abstract way, so it might seem odd to begin with the wonder of relationship with God. Yet I think you’ll see that this is exactly the right place to begin.
Small children view the world around them quite differently that we adults do; they can still see their worlds with a sense of wonder. When I was a small child, my Mom was proud of her roses; she had roses in bloom year-round. I remember that as a small child, I loved the smell of her roses and it never even occurred to me that boys would be thought weird for smelling them. However, I grew up, and now I am not really sure what they smell like. As a small child I could lay in the grass on a warm summer day and watch the clouds in the sky as they floated along; I was filled with wonder… but I grew up, and I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve really noticed a cloud.
When I was seven years old, my family drove from Los Angeles to Wichita Falls, Texas on vacation to see my grandparents. I remember how many hours I spent looking out the window of the car at all of the strange sights along the way; desert, mountains, grasslands, rivers… all so much different than the suburbs where we lived, and I was filled with wonder at how big the world seemed to me. I remember how amazed I was at how different Texas felt; the air was heavier than California, the sun wasn’t as hot, but I always seemed to feel wet; amazing, fascinating, wonders never before experienced, but then I grew up; it was humid and miserable in Texas!
When I was a “new” Christian, the whole idea of “talking to God” was a matter of wonder for me; that God, the very One who created everything, would actually notice me… Wonder is the only word for it.
But then I “grew up” so to speak, and relationship with God became the norm, something I “do” and I lost track of the wonder of it all. In truth, it became more like a ritual or a practice than something so incredibly awesome and amazing as it seemed at first; I began to take it for granted.
I was a busy man with an important job. I had worries, concerns, responsibilities; time with God was at a premium, and my concerns became the subject of my prayers; OK God, here’s what I need from you…
A corporate relationship with God can become like that as well; there’s a certain order of things, you stand up here, and now you sit down. I like that song, but not this one (looking at watch) come on, let’s get down to business; time is money…
Being naked before God is all about being real, about taking all of the games, self-importance, pride, and selfishness away; it’s about surrendering to Him. So, you want a practical first step?
Find the wonder again.
We can find the wonder of being in God’s presence again by slowing down, smelling roses, watching the clouds roll by, feeling a warm breeze and actually taking notice of the wondrous little things that we haven’t paid attention to in years. We must reclaim the wonder we had at first at the very thought that the God who created the universe would even notice that we exist, the wonder of knowing that He cares about us, the wonder of knowing that God Himself loves ME and YOU.
We reclaim that wonder by never taking Him for granted; that’s where humility can be found, because wonder requires humility and being naked before God requires both.
Step one is slow down and bask in His glory, sing praises to His glory, thank Him for loving you, marvel in His presence and stay there for a while and ask Him to bring the wonder back into your life. Be sure, you wait for His reply, since He isn’t normally in a big rush to end a conversation.
That’s enough for today, I think. There is so much more to say, but for now, I look forward to your observations.