This morning Dan Fontaine, missionary to Quebec, spoke on the importance of being open about our lives. He referenced one of my favorite portions of Scripture in the book of Genesis. Honestly, I think I could preach from the creation account for months and not feel like I was repeating myself – such incredible stuff right there! Dan asked a question after reading from chapter three
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” verses 8-11
The question was this, “Who told you that you were naked?” It’s the same question that God asked Adam and Eve. They were never told that they were naked. They discovered that they were naked when they acted in disobedience to what God had asked of them. Rather than walking around in their nakedness they made clothing of fig leaves to hide their stuff. And nothing has changed in the years that have passed since this time.
We have been hurt and we hide in order to keep from being hurt again. We have failed to we hide in order to avoid being asked to try again. We have words spoken over us that are negative so we put on the clothing of over-doing it to compensate for that negativity – because we HAVE to prove those words wrong.
It is our failure to stand in our nakedness and say, “here I am, this is the real me.” that keeps us from being real with people. Because of the barriers that we build up around us for protection we push people away and we lose the community that we were meant to be a part of. We were created for community. Relationship with God and others. That is why we exist. When we fail to connect with others we lose the ability to be whole and healthy. Isolation keeps us from living lives of purpose and stops us from being free.
I believe in small groups. As a member of a small group at my church for the past twelve years I will say that I could not do life without having people actively involved in my life. I need people who will speak words of encouragement, correction, life and hope into me. I need to do the same for others.
If you attend Grace Capital Church and have not gotten connected into a small group let me challenge you right now, get started. Drop the excuses and get involved. There are people who need you just as much as you need them. For those of you who have been involved in a small group and have taken a break for a while, let me encourage you to get back in the game. Maybe you don’t feel like you get anything out of the group. Can I ask you to change your thinking? Try another small group, but this time go with the mindset that you are bringing something to share with someone else. I would go one further and challenge you to pray this prayer, “Lord, use me to help someone else.”
We need to be open about our lives. Getting involved with a small group is a great way to do this.
I pray that you will allow yourself to be naked and have no shame.