Tuesday, November 14th, 2023
A few days ago, my family and I were on a mini road trip. It was a beautiful day for a journey, and it was so nice to have a chance to sit still for a few hours. As we were heading home, I asked God if there was anything He wanted to say to me. With my gaze out the side window, I heard Him speak the words “season of exposure”. Except for a few scattered oak trees still clinging to their orange and red leaves most of the landscape was filled with leafless deciduous trees. This time of year, you can see a lot farther into the woods along the roadside. You can see more of the country houses and barns. You can see more of everyone’s “I’ll-get-to-that-hobby-someday” piles (ours included). Everything just has more of a naked look. My spirit started to churn with thoughts of how God wants us to be spiritually naked before Him. He doesn’t want us veiled or hiding behind anything in our interactions with Him.
If we go back to when God created man and woman in the Garden of Eden, they started out naked. All of their interactions with nature, God and each other were done fully exposed. Of course, it didn’t feel that way to them, it just felt normal. In Genesis 3, the first thing that they saw when they ate the forbidden fruit was that they were naked, and this brought a sense of shame and a desire to create something to cover themselves up. And then the next time God called out to them, they actually hid. Until we get to heaven, we will never fully understand the incredible freedom they must have enjoyed walking and talking with God with no veils and no hinderances. And I am sure that just as emotional was the sense that they had lost this closeness with God. Those are two powerful and entirely opposite emotions. While we will never get back to the Garden of Eden on this earth, with Jesus’ death on the cross we have an opportunity to once again dwell in unity with our Heavenly Father. Granted this time around there is evil swirling around us and our own degrees of shame and imperfection that we have to work through, but I truly believe God wants to strip us of these as much as we will allow, so that we can experience heaven on earth. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 4:5:
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
He does not want anything to come between us and Him. He desires that we allow Him to bring light to our dark places and reveal those parts of our heart that are not pure. We will never fully experience God’s grace, love and joy if we are still living with shame over our past sins. If we are still hurting or angry because of things done to us by others we will never truly experience the forgiveness, mercy and closeness that God desires we have with Him. It’s not just “bad” things that we can hide behind, sometimes we hide behind our jobs, our kids, our spouse or even our ministries. We may think that because we do a good enough job with these things that we don’t have to try to dig up any unnecessary bones. Somehow these areas bring a surface level righteousness that makes us appear as though we are good, hardworking humans without any major hangups. In all actuality, these things have become an idol. They give us the appearance of righteousness, but they are still falling short of the one true God. Is 44:18 says this about those who set any idol above God:
18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
This is the last place I want to be. I do not want to be blinded from seeing the idols that I have erected right before my face. I don’t ever want to think that what I do outweighs who I am. God too wants more than for us to be surface level beings. He wants us to know and not be afraid of the fact that we are spirit, soul and body and each part needs a Savior who died to bring healing and deliverance. I know people that have been dedicated Christians for decades. Day by day God still takes them deeper and deeper into healing, wholeness and being filled with His love. God doesn’t want to expose all of our dark places in one day (nor would we want Him to). It’s also not about Him pointing His finger at us and saying “got ya” every time He finds something. His intention is to rid us of everything that keeps us from experiencing all He is and all that He has for us. He will never condemn us or humiliate us. His exposure is gentle and loving. He lights up a dark spot and then guides us step by step as we sanctify it for His kingdom. In 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 it says this:
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
For some of us, it sounds scary to have our veils removed. We have lived with them for so long they have become a part of us. We may even fear the real us that hides behind those veils. God knows this and that is why He is so patient and gentle with us. He cannot force us to surrender our veils, nor will He punish us if we don’t. He desires that we turn to Him and look to Him to remove our veils, trusting Him enough to know that whatever freedom results will far outweigh the temporary comfort that our veils had provided. Once we experience our first veil-for-freedom trade-off we will be more willing to let God show us the other veils that we didn’t leave nailed to the cross.
God is desiring that we trust Him enough that He can expose anything in us, and it won’t make us run away or give up on Him. He wants to help us take off our veils, our masks and our coverings. He desires that we be entirely vulnerable and naked before Him, even if this means we are falling to pieces with tears puddling in our hands. When we are empty, broken, weak and afraid then He can be all the antidotes that we need. It is from this place of exposure that we find true freedom.