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At some point in the last week, I heard someone say that Christians are called to walk around naked in a world of people clad in armor. Clearly, it’s a metaphor, so either grow up or relax, which ever applies to your reaction. Who said it slips my mind (apologies, wise person!) but this thought has been imbedded in the back of my mind for days, demanding a wrestling match.
I was immediately defensive when I heard it. I like my armor; it protects me from having my weaknesses exposed and exploited. It hides my blemishes, my scars from battles lost, and even my strengths that I want to reserve as secret weapons. My armor is pretty intimidating; I bear the crest of someone smart, capable, independent, and confident. My armor tells my enemies that I am not to be challenged and tells my friends that they want me on their side because I will be victorious. In my armor, I am safe.
Nakedness, on the other hand…
Nakedness is the ultimate expression of vulnerability. This is why Adam and Eve hid in the garden. They were completely exposed, and for the first time, that exposure posed a threat. If I were to “walk around naked” as the saying goes, my sins and scars and strengths would be visible for everyone to gawk at, and to reject. I would be utterly defenseless against any attack. I would be on the losing side of every battle.
Yet unless I step out of my armor, I will not feel the healing touch of grace on my skin. I will be constricted, my movements far too heavy and clumsy to dance, to run, to hug someone. I will never be truly free under the oppressive weight of safety.
Jesus calls us to live this way because it’s the only way to experience complete joy, acceptance, and his grace that covers us. He never said it would be safe; in fact, he guaranteed the opposite. We will be wounded. We will be rejected. But he also promises us that in our vulnerability, we will find real love–his love for us, ours for him, and his love for others.
I want that more than anything. So join me, if you dare, in shedding the cumbersome weight of armor and diving into a vast sea of grace.