A few years back I decided to look up the meaning of my name.
The first thing that popped up was “pure”. As I dug a little deeper, I discovered more as to what that word “pure” meant. It made me uncomfortable because I knew that I was none of those things.
Here are a few definitions of “pure” that I discovered:
- Unmixed with any other matter
- Free from dust, dirt or taint
- Free from harshness or roughness
- Being in tune…used of a musical note.
- Being thus and no other
- Free from what weakens or pollutes
- Containing nothing that does not properly belong
- Free from moral fault or guilt
- Having exactly the talents or skills needed for a particular role
I thought about my life and all the things I had done. Shame had been my companion since I was a little girl. Because of things that had happened to me as a little girl and because of some choices I had made in my life, I had felt the need to keep certain parts of my life hidden.
I thought that if people really saw who I had been, they wouldn’t accept or love me. I remember thinking many times in my past, as I sat in church, that if the people next to me knew the things I had done in my life, they wouldn’t want to be sitting next to me.
So I kept those parts of myself hidden. I would tell myself, no matter what, make sure you don’t let that part of yourself be exposed. I understood that I was forgiven, but the shame still clung to me.
In Genesis 3 we read the account of Adam and Eve rebelling in sin against the God who had created them. And just as they ran and tried to cover their sin and shame from God with fig leaves, so I tried to make my own “fig leaves” to cover my shame. I tried so hard to make it look like I always had it altogether, because if I didn’t, then the people around me might not love me.
If I could just make it look like everything was perfect in my life, my family, my marriage, my kids, my walk with the Lord, then everything would be okay. Or maybe if I could just keep everybody happy by always saying yes or doing things that they wanted me to do, then they would accept me. (That can get exhausting!)
I thought I was doing a pretty good job of stitching those “fig leaves” together and staying in the shadows so people…and maybe God, wouldn’t really see the real me.
But eventually God began to set me free from that. The circumstances that brought it to the surface weren’t exactly fun— in fact they were downright painful. But he wasn’t willing to let me stay in that shadowland. And how thankful I am for that!
I love what Laura Cisson shared with us a few weeks ago about coming out of the shadows:
“What are you hiding? Have you lost your cool? Have you screamed at your kids this week? How about this: Is your marriage failing? Have you lost hope that it will last?
We are all experts at putting on our happy faces and looking put together. But underneath, under the makeup, wrinkle cream, and hair dye, we are hurting and we are hiding.”
The thing is, God doesn’t want us to hide. Just as he came looking for Adam and Eve to walk and talk with them at the end of the day in the garden, so He comes looking for us. He wants to have real relationship with us where we are fully known and fully loved. He wants us to be free from shame. We’ve got to be willing to come out from our hiding and trash the “fig leaves”.
We’ve got to have an encounter with him to see the true state of our hearts. Our feeble attempts of covering ourselves with our own self-righteousness are useless. Our “fig leaves” don’t hide anything from him. There’s no escaping his piercing gaze.
And as we come into his presence and stand before this Holy God, we clearly see ourselves for who we really are, all of our impurities, faults, and shame are fully exposed and laid bare.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
And as we stand there before him and agree with him about the state of our hearts, repenting of our sin and confessing our need of his forgiveness, he so graciously covers us with the robes of righteousness provided by his son Jesus Christ. The rightly deserved charges against us are instead charged against Christ who takes the full punishment and wrath of God onto himself.
“ For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“You who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exalt in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)
We don’t have to run and hide anymore! Instead, “We can come boldly before the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace” (Hebrews 4:16)
Now when he gazes at us he sees us faultless, blameless and pure, because we are hidden in Christ.
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
After encountering the God of the universe, I am free to be who he created me to be. I no longer have to be ashamed of my past. I can shrug off that cloak of shame that the enemy keeps trying to put back on me. I can stand now “naked and unashamed” before the King. He knows me, sees me and loves me.
Now when I read those definitions of what my name means, I recognize that Jesus is ALL of those things, and because I am hidden in Christ, the Father sees me the same. It’s hard to believe…but it’s true!
How about you? Are you still carrying shame? Are you still trying to stitch “fig leaves” together? Do you need an encounter with the Righteous One?
He’s waiting with open arms. If you come to him in Christ, you will be fully known…and fully loved and accepted by him. He’s not mad at you, he’s doesn’t want to hurt you, he wants to heal you. Come to him, agree with him about who you are and confess that Jesus is Lord. He’s waiting to meet with you.