Imagine for a second you are naked. Completely exposed, Nothing hidden.
How would you react if you were seen like this by a stranger? I’m sure most of us would try to cover ourselves or hide. We may feel shame or embarrassment, awkward or uncomfortable.
On the other hand, how would you respond if you were seen like this by your spouse, someone who knows you intimately? Hopefully, the exact opposite. There’s no shame, awkwardness, or fear of rejection. Rather than hiding, there’s an inviting. This is the beauty of intimacy.
Now imagine it’s Jesus you are standing before naked. Every deed you’ve ever committed, good and bad, laid bare for inspection. How do you respond? Are you hiding or inviting?
Your answer reveals a lot about your relationship with Him. If you’re hiding, take comfort in this: nothing is hidden from His sight. He sees everything about you, even the dark places, yet still He calls you altogether lovely. The sin isn’t lovely, but who He created you to be is absolutely… breathtakingly… lovely.
And He invites you to draw near to Him.
How do you respond? When we receive His invitation and, in turn, invite Him to come closer with nothing hidden between us, He brings light into all our dark places. This is repentance. And in our vulnerability, Jesus smooths out all our rough places, perfects all our weaknesses, and purifies all our blemishes.
This is your true beauty.
I absolutely love that He sees all of me and loves me anyway. But it’s more than that. The exposing is sanctifying. The revealing is making me holy just as He is holy. The inviting is creating intimacy between me and my Lord.
Several weeks ago, my family took a quick weekend trip to the Newport/Cincinnati area. One of the highlights of our trip happened on the purple people bridge, which if you’ve never been there, is a purple bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio for pedestrians only. So as we were walking around Newport, we decided to go ahead and walk from Kentucky to Ohio via this bridge.
It was pretty cool. Walking right over the Ohio River we could see the big city of Cincinnati on the other side, including the Great American Ballpark where my husband’s favorite team resides. Needless to say, the conversation quickly turned to Reds baseball as opening day started the very next day. Then, out of the blue, a man walking a few steps ahead of us, intruded upon our conversation.
He asked if we were going to make it to opening day. Bobby, my husband, replied, “No, we won’t be able to go.” So then this man, whom we didn’t know, pressed and wanted to know why. Bobby continued to explain that we had to get back home that night for the boys to go to school the next day. Then, just out of politeness, Bobby asked him, “Are you going to opening day?”
The man chuckled a bit and said, “Yeah. I’ll be in attendance. I’ll be working,” he said. Well, my curiosity was peaked. Wonder what his job is? But my reservations won out, so I didn’t question him for more information.
Now so far, this whole conversation had taken place with this guy walking a few steps in front and us following behind him. Well, suddenly, he turned around facing us and with a dramatic gesture he announced, “I’m going to go ahead and make a prediction right here. I predict thatJay Bruce guy will go 3-for-3 with 2 home runs, a double and 2 walks. This is going to be the Reds year!”
To that, Bobby quickly replies, “Well, if anybody can do it, he can! I hope they do great this year!” Then the last thing the man said to us before running off was this, “ Yeah, I take it pretty seriously. I’m actually going to church to pray about it right now.”
Well, by now we are in Ohio at the end of the bridge and the guy takes off in a jog as we shout that we’ll be praying too. And then getting some distance ahead, we watch as he stops and pulls out a cigar and continues walking.
At this point, a million things are racing through my mind. Bobby and I look at each other and we both say, “Surely, not!” Well, I immediately pull out my iPhone and start Googling Jay Bruce images. Sure enough! It was him!
We had been talking baseball with Jay Bruce, #32 on the Cincinnati Reds team. As realization began kicking in, we began kicking ourselves because we didn’t say anything and that we didn’t recognize him sooner. How could we have not known!?!
Walking with Jesus
This awesome experience reminds me of a story. A story of two followers of Jesus who were walking on the road to Emmaus. This road stretched 7 miles and connected Jerusalem to Emmaus. So, along their journey, they were conversing with one another about Jesus when all of a sudden a man appeared. Similar to our experience with Jay Bruce, this man, also butted into their conversation. He’s all like, “What are ya’ll talking about?” (Don’t you love it!)
Well, one of the men’s name was Cleopas, and he answered Him saying, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s happened these last few days?” And so they tried to fill this stranger in on all the events that happened regarding Jesus, that He was a great prophet and He was crucified, but now some women who were at the tomb that morning said His body was gone and He’s alive. (See Luke 24:13-35.)
So these two men, followers of Jesus mind you, walked nearly 7 miles with Jesus Himself, talking about Jesus to Jesus, and did not recognize Him. Reading this scripture, do you notice how they did not recognize Jesus until the breaking of the bread? There’s is such significance in this! Do you see it???
What is our bread? Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” The word of God becomes our bread. It’s our daily bread. Jesus says also in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jesus is the bread. And John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word.
Tying all these scriptures together we see that The Bread is the Word. Jesus is the Bread. Jesus is the Word. All scripture, even the Old Testament, reveals Jesus. This is how we get to know Him more. We seek and we find. We knock and the door is opened.
Jesus says in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me.” And in verse 27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
How does the sheep recognize the Shepherd’s voice? They spend time with Him. Knowing Jesus and recognizing His voice requires intimacy. We must spend time with Him in prayer, searching out the scriptures, and in fellowship with other believers.
Fan or Friend?
Back to our purple people bridge experience. Do you see how that experience proves that we don’t really know Jay Bruce? Sure, we know of him. We watch him on TV. We know what position he plays. Bobby even knows some of his background and some of his stats. But we don’t really know him. If we had known Jay Bruce, we would have recognized him on that bridge. Sad to say, we are not best friends with Jay Bruce, we are just fans.
How many times do you think Jesus is walking with us and we don’t see Him. Or talking to us and we don’t recognize His voice? Or fighting for us and we don’t claim the victory He gives us?
There’s an eternity of difference in knowing Jesus in your head
and knowing Jesus in your heart.
Do you have a head knowledge of Jesus or do you have a heart knowledge of Jesus? Would you be able to recognize Him?
Are you a fan of Jesus or are you a friend of Jesus?
Fans buy tickets. Friends get invitations. Fans are spectators. Friends are partakers. Fans are fickle. True friends are forever.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” –Hosea 6:3