Recently I came across this blog post from five years ago and I decided it would be a good one to leave up for the end of this week. My children bring me delight and God uses my relationship with them to teach me much. Here’s a helpful snapshot of a night when Landon was about four years old that brings a contentment to my heart. Have a great weekend. Don’t forget to laugh as often as you can.
Yesterday was the marathon of marathons for me and I came home in the evening dog-tired. Fixing a plate of fried chicken and potatoes I sat down after mumbling a few words and giving Amy a kiss on the forehead. As I began to unwind and exhale the hectic pace of a sixteen hour day I caught something out of the corner of my eye moving rapidly in my direction. It was a naked boy with a devilish grin on his face. By the way, he was wielding a Star Wars light-saber with deadly accuracy. Now I’m unsure what takes place in your home on a Sunday night but the Lyles don’t usually find themselves held hostage by a nude Jedi wannabee. Landon had decided somewhere along the way that to be a naked agent of the Force would be a profitable experience. After allowing him a few leaps around my chair I finally had to instruct my miniature Zorro to go put his pajamas on and get ready for bed. He looked me in the eye to let me know he was willing to obey…this time. Something tells me the next time the little nude exhibitionist shows up with his light-saber he will be cutting his daddy in half.
Children don’t mind their nudity. Even Scripture seems to associate self-unconscious nudity with a blissful innocence. In Genesis 2:25 we read, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Interestingly enough the very next verse shows the serpent appearing and wreaking havoc that reverberates to this very day – he must not have liked their selfless innocence before God and each other because he was quick to pervert it. I’m wondering if there is not a component of Landon’s innocent nudity that has a beneficial parallel in how we relate to our Heavenly Father. If nudity can be made to represent the true, uncovered, unahsamed essence of who we are then I would like to suggest that we are not as comfortable with the concept as a child might be. Adam and Eve immediately made fig leaves to cover themselves when they became aware of their sin and guilt. Our awareness that we fall short of God often motivates us to wrap ourselves up in good works, spiritual disciplines, church attendance and charitable deeds – this is the essence of religion’s robe. We hope to cover up our vulnerability and self-consciousness; this is somewhat absurd because the writer of Hebrews reminds us in 4:13 that, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Eventually, our coverings have to come off and we have to face the fact that God has seen it all.
This is where Christ comes in on behalf of the believer. How many times are we reminded that we are “in Christ”? That doctrine lets me know that the vulnerability of our spiritual nudity has been covered, not by pitiful fig leaves of our own sewing, but with the eternally glorious righteousness of the Son of God. I’m naked on my own, but robed in the righteousness of Another when God views me.
Today is a great day to live out the reality of Christ’s sufficiency on your behalf. You don’t need to strive to be acceptable because you are already fully accepted in Christ. There is no need to be at the top of your game because, even if you reach that summit, you still require the work of Jesus to make you complete. Landon has his light-saber dance in all his glory – you and I might have our work, our families, our looks, our possessions or our accomplishments to help keep us from remembering we are spiritually nude. For sure, we do our own little naked dance too. Eventually my boy put on his PJ’s and came back into the den, hands now emptied, crawled up in my lap and threw his little arms around my neck. His sister migrated over to us and placed herself under my other arm. If I could have captured that moment and have kept it forever as my ongoing reality I would have done so. Suddenly my fatigue from the long day melted away and was replaced by a father’s delight. Fathers don’t want their kids hesitant and hiding – even a naked Star Wars dance is preferable over that. Nor does a father want his children to strive to earn what they already have in his unconditional love. A father wants his children hugging his neck and tucked under his arm, loving the one who gave them life.
There’s a Father in Heaven, your Father, who bids you come as you are and draw as near as you can get. That should be our aim on a day like today which offers nothing else to compare.
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