Don’t Make Me Naked!

27 06 2013

This is my 100th post!*

He resembled a cocoon, more than a man. It had taken no small amount of effort to make his way out of the grave, baby steps all he could manage because of his graveclothes. Finding the exit had been no easy task either, with the cloth that wrapped his face, Lazarus was blind as a bat.

He heard shrieks of surprise, and Mary’s cry: “Lazarus!” Then he heard the sound of feet pattering on the ground toward him. He heard Jesus’ voice, a hint of merriment in the tone, as He said, “Loose him, and let him go.”

At the same instant, Lazarus was overcome by the stench emanating from his wrappings. “Oh, no! They’ve got to stay back. This is awful. I don’t want them to smell this.” He tried to call out, to warn them to stay back, but could only manage to make muffled sounds through his bandages.

Then Lazarus realized the task Jesus had given them. They were going to strip him! Not sure in which direction the grave lay, he began shuffling toward what he hoped would be the opening. He had no desire to be naked in public!

“May mah! May mah!” was heard by those closest. They couldn’t make out his words.

“Stay back! Stay back!” was what he tried to tell them. A sense of panic filled Lazarus. Oh, dear! What to do? What to do?

Lazarus was in a real bind (pun intended). There was no way for him to rid himself of his graveclothes; his hands were pinned to his stomach. He couldn’t see where he was going. He wasn’t going to get out of his fix alone.

Ever know anyone like this?

(Say, “yes.” You know me…and I’ve been like Lazarus!)

The realization of my predicament was overwhelming. At long last I saw how offensive and repulsive I was, dead in sin, and how desperately I needed new life.

Others had done the work of removing the stones that prevented me from hearing Jesus’ call to “come forth.” The breath of the Spirit filled my being, and I was alive!

My baby steps were considered silly by some; encouraging to others…but the stench?

“Eew! Don’t get too close to her. She’ll stink you up something awful,” I heard some folks remark.

“Look at how she’s dressed. She can’t show up in church like that. What will people think?” I heard others say.

I was relieved that people kept their distance. I was painfully aware of my condition and didn’t want to have anyone tainted by the rotted flesh-soaked cloths that bound me.

What was I to do? I was powerless to free myself, and few wanted to wade into the mess that was my life to set me free.

I turned to books. I’ve read hundreds (literally) of self-help books – Christian and secular. Those from Christian authors helped me get some of the bandages off my head, as my mind was renewed a bit. The secular ones mostly told me how to “dress up” my graveclothes. I would still stink, but at least I would look better!

I remained in this condition for a couple of decades. A few hazarded getting close enough to unwrap the odd cloth or two, but with the removal of every strip; I felt exposed and dismayed. Underneath, there was yet another layer that had to come off. Was there no end to this process?

Meanwhile, Jesus stood by, beckoning others to come help.

Convinced that I’d gotten myself into this fix, and could get myself back out, I mostly turned them away. I was very self-reliant. People couldn’t be trusted. I didn’t need their help, thank you very much.

Still stuck, I fell over for the umpteenth time. This time was different. At long last I realized that I couldn’t free myself. I turned to Jesus and said, “Okay. I quit.”

With a wide grin, He said, “It’s about time!”

“Lord. Don’t make me naked…not in public. That would be more than I could bear.” He just smiled.

Soon a dear sister in the Lord came along. She was so gentle and kind. Her words were true, but spoken with such love, and she was dressed in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of transparency. In what seemed like no time at all, she gently unwrapped the smelly gravecloths, one by one.

She didn’t try to pooh-pooh the stench; she acknowledged that I was pretty stinky, but made sure that I knew that the odor was becoming fainter with every meeting. That encouraged me to be patient through the unwrapping process.

We took off the cloths of alcoholism, attempted suicide, adultery, greed, gossip, criticism and judgment, and self-righteousness.

After washing in the water of the Word, I was ready for my new clothes: the garments of praise, and of  joy, gratitude, peace, hope, faith, and love.

Jesus brings me a gift now and then – a new article of clothing to add to my wardrobe.

Had I been insistent on freeing myself, I’d still be standing outside my tomb – alive, to be sure, but unable to move.

It took a willingness to let someone come alongside and remove the stuff I “wore” when I was dead. Only then could I be clothed in the garments of the living.

Jesus offers the PPE of transparency to us. It’s best worn when helping others out of their graveclothes! After all, no one can get free on their own.

New clothes aren’t put over old stinky ones…

First we must be made naked.

***

This is the last of a three-part series. You can find Part One and Two here:

I Expected More

Waking The Dead

*Please accept my gratitude for your support, encouragement, and all the ways you have otherwise equipped me to serve Jesus.  I am truly thankful for each and every one of you!

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22 responses

30 06 2013
hope4theheart

Your post touches on the passion of my heart … for every heart to be set free to be able to receive the gift of God’s love; to be able to receive the gift of being able to love themselves; and to receive the gift of being able to receive the love from individuals around us. For years I thought “pride goes before a fall” because the fall was punishment for the pride. Now what I see is that pride puts us in a position of not being able to receive … advice, help, love, fill in the blank … pride actually cuts us off from our source of supply and exactly what we need.

30 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Wow! That’s a very different take…and makes sense. I get it! Thank you for sharing!

\o/

28 06 2013
Shofar

Congratulations, Tami, on 100 Posts! Enjoyed your Lazarus stories very much! God bless you in your writing!
\o/ ~Liz

28 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Mahalo! 😉

\o/

27 06 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

You made it to the big centennial mile post. I am only half way there. :)Congratulations Tami!

28 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks!

\o/

27 06 2013
Pure Glory

Congratulations on 100 blog posts published, Tami! Lazarus is someone i sure can relate to. Jesus loves us mess and all and makes us a message!

28 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

27 06 2013
Damyanti

Congratulations on your 100th post!

27 06 2013
godcrazzzy

lovely, and congrats on this being ur 100th post.

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanx!

\o/

27 06 2013
Larry Who

Great job as usual. Thanks.

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂 I’m thanking the Lord for giving me such a fun assignment…and the words with which to write. 😉

\o/

27 06 2013
vonhonnauldt

Ah, milady! What a world of wisdom in that last sentence of your post!

Also, congratulations on “100”!

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

This “series” was so much fun. I couldn’t tell you how I got on the topic, had no idea how it was going to play out, and was as surprised by the outcome as if I’d never read it before. God is so good to us, isn’t He? 🙂

Thanks for your kind comments.
\o/

27 06 2013
vonhonnauldt

I know the feeling. More than one post has not been the one I started out to write, even though the title might have remained the same. 🙂

27 06 2013
Valerie Rutledge

Congrats on hitting 100!! But more than that, congrats on overcoming your “I can do this solo” complex and letting others love you like Jesus. We are all guilty of being Lazarus at some time or another, thanks for reminding us why it should not be this way 🙂

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂
\o/

27 06 2013
blmaluso

Thank you for your post…it made me cry. (because of course, I am Lazarus) We are all meant to help and love eachother:-) Congrats on your 100th post and your upcoming book. May God bless you!

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Even at his stinkiest, Lazarus was still dearly loved by Jesus…so are you!

Thanks for your comments! 🙂
\o/

27 06 2013
Tony

Have you ever thought of writing Christian books? This post was very good.

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Tony. I really appreciate your vote of confidence.

I’m working on a Spiritual Warfare for Women book, using Joshua as my main text. You might pray that the Lord would give me time to continue work on it. 😉

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