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Archive for October, 2011

What DoesYour Fig Leaf Look Like?

Today is the day that millions of Americans, young and old, put on a costume and go out to a party or harvest festival, or door-to-door ‘trick-or-treating’. This one night of the year, they all pretend to be someone else.

But in reality, most of us are pretending all the time.

In the Garden, as Adam and Eve listened to the lies of God’s enemy, they began to believe that there was something wrong with them, when there wasn’t! So they tried to impersonate God, in a sense, by doing the thing that the serpent said would make them like Him.

When they traded the truth of who they really were, for the ‘lemon’ of lies and independence that satan sold them, they discovered their nakedness and tried to cover it with fig leaves.

And we still do that. In his book ‘Radical Honesty’, Dr. Brad Blanton says that we all create our personality as a kind of lie, to protect our true selves. Others have expressed this in other ways (‘Married Without Masks’ comes to mind), but the core truth is that when we believe the lie that there is something wrong with us, we are forced to hide that flawed self behind a mask that we hope will be considered acceptable by others. We may even try to become someone else, someone without flaws.

We sew together our own set of fig leaves, to cover up the mess that we believe we are.

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When God came looking for Adam, though, He made it clear that the fig leaf aprons didn’t cut it. He killed an animal and made clothes for them out of the skin. (Gen. 3:21)

In other words, their own efforts at covering their nakedness didn’t work.

And they still don’t. No matter what kind of ‘fig leaf apron’ we create – successful businessman, high-powered female executive, stay-at-home mom, rock and roll singer, artist, dropout, good little girl/boy – none of it works.

Nothing we do in ourselves can cover us, can hide our true selves. Sooner or later, we will reveal just a bit too much of the true person beneath that covering, and someone will reject us.

And in reaction, we will try to strengthen that covering, or maybe create a new one, to try yet again to cover our nakedness, instead of allowing God to provide us with protection.

* * *

As you prepare to dress up as someone else tonight (or not, as the case may be), or get ready to hand out treats at your door, may Holy Spirit begin to show you that your true self is totally loved and accepted by Father God, because of the covering made from the death of the Lamb of God.

May you break free of all the lies that tell you that you are less than what He created you to be, cease your own efforts to hide your true self, and accept the covering He provided for you on Calvary.

And may you learn to live your true self in Him – in His love and acceptance and peace.

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God is good?

How many of us really believe that – that God is good? Oh, sure, we say it, but do we really believe it? I’ve heard a lot of sermons over the years that made it clear that the one giving the sermon didn’t believe it at all!

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God so loved the world’ – we say it all the time, even use that verse to ‘get people saved’.

But do we believe it? Really???

Another verse says God is love (I John 4:8).

How many of us really believe that?

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You know, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, what are we doing in church? Why are we trying to follow Him?

Let’s stop going! Let’s stop giving Him all that time and attention and money!

Let’s just go once or twice a year for ‘makeup’ worship, and then get on with our lives!

You don’t think that’ll work? Why not? It worked for the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Babylonians. Annual or monthly visits to the appropriate temple with an offering, and you’re good ‘til next month/year.

Easy-peasy!

Yeah, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, let’s go back to that kind of religion.

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But if He is good?

If He is love?

Then, the only appropriate response is to love Him back!

The only thing you can do with a Good God who loves you, is to be with Him as much as you can!

To spend time just talking with Him.

To go by His side on whatever path He feels like traveling today.

To receive whatever gift He is giving you now (and there’ll be a lot of them, ‘cause that’s how love is.)

To reach out in love to those He is reaching out to.

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I rarely dare people, as I think that’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it now –

I dare you to take I Cor. 13 – the love chapter – and put ‘God’ in place of ‘love’, and read it out loud. And listen! You may be surprised at how that changes your view of God.

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May you be blessed with knowing Him who loves us on an increasingly intimate level, all the days of your life.

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