Still Sewing Fig Leaves?
by Pastor Gene
HAPPY REFORMATION DAY! 500 years ago today Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg rocking the Christian world to it’s core, purifying its doctrines, and (eventually) making the Bible available to all, scholar and ploughman alike!
So, let’s get to some personal reformation …
Recently Catherine Parks, author of A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Big Day, wrote an insightful piece that speaks to idea of Reformation as a Way of Life. She wrote:
“I’ve been trying something new lately, and it’s revolutionizing my life. I’m being honest with God. Maybe that sounds ridiculous. How could I be any more honest than I already was? I mean, He knows everything. He sees me as I am. You can’t get more honest than that.
But I’ve realized I’m still so much like Adam and Eve in the garden. I’m running frantically, trying to cover up my shame by haphazardly sewing together fig leaves … Look, I know it’s silly. I’ve been a Christian for years and years, and yet I’m still running around in fear of being exposed. But now I’ve learned I’m free to be me and just let it all out. I’m praying as though my soul is naked …
When we give voice to our complaints, our worries, our bitterness, or our fears, we aren’t telling God anything He doesn’t already know. What we are doing is laying ourselves bare before Him, holding nothing back, and asking Him to work. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to us—because of Christ, we are continually with God. He is with us, and His Son is pleading our case before the Father. Like David said, “God is our refuge.”
The Holy Spirit also works by showing us the beauty of Christ. This is the kind of beauty that makes all earthly things look dull and dim. This revelation of Christ, seen in the Bible and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, causes us to say, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Worldly sorrow and sin will not last. Our flesh and hearts may fail, but God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever (Psalm 73) …
This week I’ve been telling Him, ‘I’m really upset with that person, even though I know it’s wrong.’ And ‘I really, really don’t want to do this right now. Help me, Jesus.’ And ‘God, I don’t feel loving toward my family at this moment. Actually, I’m really super angry. Please, love them through me. I’m messing it up!’
The beauty is that I don’t have to cover myself with fig leaves anymore. God has covered me with Christ. He doesn’t look at me and see my poor ability as a seamstress. He looks at me and sees His sinless, righteous Son. … Have you experienced the freedom of just being honest with Him?”
This is a great challenge, Right?
All true reformation begins with honesty and without it nothing will change. God wants to take what He already knows about us and what we know about ourselves and have a conversation about it.
But honesty can be really hard. If we dare to look at ourselves too closely, we might not like everything we find.
For consideration . . .
- Does Park’s new-found quest to get honest with God resonate with you? Why or why not?
- Isn’t it interesting – especially later in life – to find ourselves still hiding things from God? We’d all agree that He knows and sees everything, of course. But actually talking to Him about it is something else again! To do that, to admit the uncomfortable parts about us, is asking God to change those things, to help us do something about it. And you know what I think? I think sometimes we don’t talk to God about them because we don’t really want to change them. So, what have you been covering in fig leaves rather than honestly talking to God about?
- Consider Parks’ statement, “God has covered me with Christ. He doesn’t look at me and see my poor ability as a seamstress. He looks at me and sees His sinless, righteous Son.” What are your thoughts about that?
- Remember, all true reformation begins with honesty and without it nothing will change. The very essence of confession is God saying, ‘Look, I know what’s going on with you and you know what’s going on with you. Now, talk to me about it so that I can make you more like My Son,’ So then, honesty time. Strip away the veneer and ask yourself: What conversation that I need to have with the Father have I been avoiding? Have it today!
Sermons with Boats in Them #2: ‘Dark Night was the Night and the Sea was a Fury – Tempestuous, Turbulent and Threatening.’
March 29, 2020