In the steamy outback of Australia, Laura and Nicklas prepare to battle intensely hot days and extremely cold nights, poisonous spiders, flash floods and a parched, barren and unforgiving landscape---all while naked. Laura is equipped with her fire starter and Nicklas with his machete and they launch into the tasks of building shelter and starting a fire before the storm clouds let loose. But trouble quickly arises as Laura rebukes Nicklas for his poor attempt at building adequate shelter. And her rebuke is ratified as we find the two huddled together, shivering and wet all while Nicklas cries, questioning what he had gotten himself into. The next morning, desperate for warmth, Laura attempts to start a fire. Days two and three go by and Laura experiences no success. Finally, on the eve of day three, Nicklas tries and succeeds. But is Laura happy? Absolutely not. She feels frustrated and outdone and feels that she has now unjustly been relegated to the “woman’s work”. Laura’s anger simmers and turns into fury then rage and she eventually gets kicked off the show. Laura left the show naked and ashamed.
Think I’ve made this up? Nope, I didn’t. This was Season 5, Episode 9 of the Discovery Channel’s hit show, Naked and Afraid where each week a man and a woman, who meet for the first time, team up to survive in a remote wilderness for 21 days with nothing but a single, personal item.
But as I watched, something struck me as being vaguely familiar. I recall hearing a story about a man and a woman who were placed in unchartered territory, designed to survive the elements---bright, sunny days, lions, tigers and bears, and figuring out what to eat and what not to eat---all while naked. Both were intentionally, beautifully, and wonderfully created to inhabit this land and both were equipped with the one tool needed to survive, the Word of God. And life was good. Life was really good until the woman encountered a snake, who did what snakes do---deceive and distort truth. At the snakes convincing, the woman ate the forbidden fruit, and she then convinced the man to eat the forbidden fruit, and both found themselves for the very first time aware of their nakedness and their shame. Clamoring for fig leafs, seeking to cover their guilt, their sorrow, and their confusion; both soon discovered the harsh realities of being kicked out of the Garden of Eden, destined to live life naked and ashamed.
As always, I look for personal life applications. See, God also intentionally, beautifully and wonderfully created me with everything that I need to survive this rough terrain and uncertain crossroads on this journey called life. Because of the elements of destruction threatening to overtake me, I too clamor for shelter or covering. And like Laura on Naked and Afraid, I sometimes react irrationally and sometimes like Eve, I take cover and hide behind the fig leafs of guilt, of hurt, of hopelessness and of shame.
Maybe you also have a host of fig leafs that feebly cover ‘the you’ that you were created to be. And if you don’t, I surely have enough to go around.
- The fig leaf of worry about whether my children can withstand the temptations and challenges that plague them;
- The fig leafs of fear and doubt as to whether I can fulfill God’s call to ministry and truly trust that He can do what I am unable to do as He has promised;
- The fig leaf of pain as I continue to battle asthma and allergies and numbness and fatigue; or
- The fig leaf of hopelessness as the world around me gives way to violence, hatred, and hurt.
But, (Oh how I love God’s big buts), I’m so glad I serve a God who has afforded me, and has afforded you, the ‘no restrictions exchange policy’. See, for each and every fig leaf that I choose to surrender to Him, He promises to exchange them for white garments, washed in the blood of the Lamb so that I, you, we no longer need to be clothed in our fig leafs of shame (Revelation 3:18). If I were to exchange my fig leafs of robes of righteousness, my life on the other side of sin, might look like this:
Worry for Worship
Fear for Faith
Doubt for Deliverance
Pain for Purpose
Hopelessness for Happiness
The act of surrender is quite simple---it’s a choice. If we simply make the choice to give God our all, He’ll do the rest. The ladies in my novel, Naked and Unashamed, learn this lesson and it’s a lesson that I’m continuing to learn. Give Him my all----my hurt, my pain, my fears, my joys, my talents, my passion, my guilt, my shame---and He can use it, transform it, or remove it. Won’t you give Him your all today? Won’t you experience life free of the fig leafs that hinder you? Let’s live naked! Naked and Unashamed as we surrender our all to God, the only one Who can save us.
Memory Verse for the Week:
- Psalm 31:1: In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me.
- Revelation 3:18: Therefore, I advise you to buy from me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won't show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see.
- 2 Corinthians 5:1-3: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
- What fig leafs of shame do you wear?
- What are your thoughts regarding the act of surrender being a choice?
- If you surrendered your fig leafs, what could God bless you with instead?
From My Heart to Yours,