That’s how we start. Bare before a holy God. It’s how He created us. And He said it was good. Then, “Don’t eat from this tree”, God says. But the nature of the human heart desires the forbidden fruit. Bare and in His presence wasn’t enough. We were easily convinced there could be more. Only after the tasty morsel is digested do we realize it wasn’t worth it. And we are left sewing fig leaves and longing to be bare again, whole, holy. And it doesn’t make sense. This tension between wanting more and needing only Him.
We are wretches but we are also chosen, a royal priesthood. So this holy God who is love had a solution before there was ever a problem. He had a plan all along. Because He saw it coming. The bittersweet juice drips down our chins from that sinful bite and it is more than we were made to chew. So His plan starts to unfold. But it’s going to hurt. Him. Us. We go about collecting more so He spends time stripping us bare. We are ensnared by more. We need Him alone and more jeopardizes everything.
But the excess is painful to remove. And Paul and Peter, they tell us to rejoice. Rejoice in the suffering. It’s pure joy. Because it’s the suffering orchestrated by His sovereign hand that is making us bare, more like His Son. The road to bare is marked with suffering but it is the hope of glory. And it’s the only way.
Our God, He sees us bare already, even as we knit together our coverings, but He wants us to see ourselves that way, living in freedom. We clench fists and hold tight to more so He pries open fingers, gently. And nails palms to trees, sorrowfully. Die to more. We don’t need it. Live for Him. More than we deserve.
And when He strips it all away, layer by layer, we see. We see Him and we see each other as God truly made us. No masks. No fig leaves. Just a broken, busted people that needs less than we thought but more than we could ever possibly hold with our hands. What we truly need can only be held by our hearts. And as we stand bare before Him, we realize how this really is more. So. much. more.
And just when I think I’m standing bare, I glimpse my reflection. I'm still covered and full of more. Bow. Pray. This is going to hurt.
Lord, bare and in Your presence is my soul's cry. I will do anything.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)