The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – Romans 13:12-14
I have been deeply impacted by the ministry
of Jon Watts
and Maggie Harrison
, who are traveling among Friends, preaching a message of spiritual rebirth. They speak to us of God’s call to spiritual nakedness
, recapturing the unabashed intimacy that Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden, before the Fall. They urge us to stand in the light of Christ, allowing his presence to strip away all the layers of falsehood that we have accumlated over the course of our lives.
Our wounds and pride, our fears and fixations stand as barriers between us and God; between us and our fellow human beings. We tend to believe that these barriers protect us, but in fact they suffocate life and wonder, cutting us off from relationship and intimacy. These deadening habits and hang-ups can seem endless; each time we remove one article of fear-drenched clothing, we encounter another layer beneath.
Yet, as we yield to Christ’s action within us, we come to experience moments of real nakedness before God. We stand before our Creator in awe and gratitude, knowing in some small measure the reality of Jesus’ prayer that we might be one with him, just as he and the Father are one
. We are left defenseless, together in the presence of the Spirit, and all false distinctions melt away. We find a hidden unity that runs deeper than all the masks we hide behind.
Taking off the old, tattered rags that we used to hide behind, Jesus invites us to put on the pure linen of his righteousness. As we clothe ourselves in his character, we find that we become more truly ourselves than ever before. This new covering reveals our true heart to the world. Trading our old garments for the new life that Christ gives us, we acquire an amazing transparency; the Holy Spirit shines brightly through us. The joy within us irradiates our surroundings, inviting our friends and neighbors into this breathtaking life of wholeness in the Spirit.
What has it looked like in your life to put aside the deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light? What does it mean to be clothed with Jesus?