SUMMER CONNECTIONS 2016: Real before God

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Have you ever hidden from God?   Do you ever hesitate to draw near to him?  I remember as a child, I was so shy and fearful that I would run downstairs and hide behind a chair as soon as I heard the sound of the doorbell.  Oh no, visitors!  My heart would cry out in fear.  Do we hide from God in a similar way?  But instead of hiding behind a chair, do we hide behind our facades of perfect Christian performance?  Do we pretend to be better than we are?  To God, to our neighbour, and even to ourselves?
Have we ever considered that perhaps God in his perfect love and lavish forgiveness of us just wants us to be who we are?  Do we dare to be naked and vulnerable before him, even letting Him see the ugliness that lies within?  “Transformation demands that we meet God in the vulnerability of our sin and shame, rather than retreating to try to get on with our self-improvement projects . . . it requires we stay long enough in His loving presence to allow our shame to begin to melt away.” (Surrender To Love, by David G. Benner, p. 83.)  Will we let him see those parts of us that we hide from him, ourselves, and others, because we feel such shame?  And yet, could it be that the only way we can truly surrender to his love is by giving him those ugly and diseased parts of us, that he might heal them?
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” (Luke 14:13)  Could it be that God’s love for us is so amazing that he really does love us exactly as we are, even the ugly and deformed parts of us that we want to hide?
The only way to truly experience the depth of Christ’s love for us is by being naked and vulnerable before him.  He wants our whole heart.  The real us.  And all that we are.  That is who he died to redeem.  Not some false version of us, which Jesus calls a “white-washed tomb,” appearing righteous and godly, but full of wickedness within.  Will we give him all that we are?
Consider the passage of scripture from Luke 18:13, where the Pharisee and the tax collector are praying on the roof of the temple.  The Pharisee was praying more to himself than to God, full of pride and self-righteousness.  Could it be that he was a “white-washed tomb,” unwilling to be vulnerable before God?  Could it be that he was hiding from God, and presenting a false self before him?   I believe he was.  Now, hear the words of the tax collector in the same passage: “He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God . . . those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Will we dare surrender to his love, and let him see us in full reality?  In naked vulnerability?  Or will we shut out his love?  Will we push him away and hide, afraid he will reject us if he sees who we really are?  Yet, he promises to never reject anyone who comes to him (John 6:37).
Prayer:  Lord I come to you, vulnerable, real, and naked, for you are my only Saviour.  I surrender to your love so that I can be receive your healing.  I thank you that when I stop hiding, you are always waiting to receive me in your loving embrace.  Amen.Listen to the song
Jesus I come
Contributed by Elizabeth Trondsen
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