For those of you that have had the privilege (a dubious title) of changing the nappy of a toddler, you would likely have picked up on something… And, no, I’m not talking about the foul stench that may be gloriously presented before you. A toddler’s only objectives are to grow and burn as much energy as possible. Each day, they are gaining strength and fine-tuning their motor skills; a couple of which just happen to be the ability to physically refuse with their newly acquired strength and, in the blink of an eye, run away. It’s as if they have an instant download of heroic powers from Flash Gordon himself. This seems to be an ongoing occurrence at our place and even more so after a bath. Our youngest one loves being in the bath. Everything is free. The water is warm and relaxing, it feels cleansing and refreshing and, above all things, there are usually BUBBLES! Why in the world would you ever want to get out? Out into the cold harsh reality of ‘life beyond bath’; only to go and have someone shove something restricting on you!?
They are simply happiest when they are naked.
It may seem all cute and adorable at the time in a toddler, but I believe there is a parable here for grown-up folks as well. As Christians, there are some fundamental challenges for us nestled in what appear to be the simplest parts of life. As we mature in our faith, and unavoidably our age, there’s no hiding that each day comes with its own challenges. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all and let life become a burden. However, this is not Gods intention for us. God has placed freedom before us and He wants us to grab it with both hands.
Briefly, I’d like to place our attention on David. King David’s story about the Ark of God is a classic portrayal of freedom in Christ. David was a king, a man of power and influence, a man of many shortcomings, yet a man forever chasing the heart of God. In 2 Samuel 6, the Ark of the Covenant was brought to King David and the House of Israel. The whole place erupted with celebration. They were pumped! The presence of God was coming to town. The Israelites were celebrating with all their might: vigour, power, strength, passion, zeal, radiance and DYNAMISM. (What a great word.)
The end of the party, however, must have wrecked them. Obviously, David liked the idea of the Ark coming to town, but after a bit of an incident (read: a guy died because he touched it), David became a little scared when he saw just how powerful the Ark was. So he had the Ark sent to Obed-Edom’s house. However, during the Arks time there, David got word of how Obed’s place had become continuously blessed. Man! If my mates place had God’s presence all over it and I was missing out; I’d be like, “Ooooh, Gimme sum of dat!”
So at a guess, I’d say David got a wee bit jealous, and I don’t blame him! I wouldn’t want to miss out on it either. We need to get hungry for more; never becoming complacent or letting fear or shame take away from that. If we become too afraid, we may miss out and not get the full blessing God has intended for us. His presence brings blessing.
When the Ark finally came to him, David danced will all his might, stripping down to his linen ephod. David took off his kingly garments, essentially stripping himself of his title and humbling himself before a King greater than he. How many times do we come to worship God with our title still hanging off us? In my life there has been countless times when I have stood in the presence of God and I have just felt like ripping everything off. Not so much physically, but just start tearing off everything that has restricted me over time, just so I can know what it is like to stand fully uninhibited in Gods presence.
Yes, David looked like an idiot and was frowned upon, but he didn’t care; he knew where his security and freedom was. We may feel or look silly, but others will see your passion and passion is infectious. You may dance funnier than the person next to you, clap out of time, your singing may even be best kept for the shower! But you know what? God doesn’t care! He wants you to enter through His gates – Free.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Recently God has been teaching me about His freedom. He’s taken my ‘nappy’ off, He has put me back in the bath and I’m doing best not to be taken out and clothed by limitation’s wardrobe. I want to be less restricted, so that I can move with DYNAMISM; pressing into Him. I want to encourage us all to take a good look at ourselves in the ‘mirror’. That mirror may be your Bible or your prayer life, or even a song. However you connect and whatever you see, I pray that the reflection is an image full of promise and freedom. Become comfortable with who you are and know that with full assurance, you are a child of the Most High, created in His image. By grace, we have already entered through His gates, there is now no reason we have to stand in His courts, trying to cover who we really are, insecure and despondent. We can actually stand there NAKED! Vulnerable, safe, secure and empowered, because WE are His people and God’s love for us endures forever.
So this week, how about each day we wake up and get naked? Let’s get to church – naked. That’s right, completely starkers! Now, I’m not suggesting we start another MONA event, but imagine how it would feel to take off all the things we may have been clothed with over time, only to become known as a people that move, every day, in the freedom of God.
Written by Lance Cooper