The feeling of spiritual nakedness is the most critical moment in our lives, because at this point one of two things will happen: either we will get up and get dressed or we’ll remain naked. In other words, we’ll either present ourselves to God in our nakedness and say, “We have sinned,” or We’ll try to hide from God, like Adam and Eve. When God calls us, Where are you?, We will say: Hiding, because we are naked. And when we emerge from our hiding place, He’ll see our fig leaves. Today, in a practical way, we’ll conceal ourselves and took shelter in the ideas and temporary pleasures of this world. But the problem is God will call us out. Our conscience is a small god and we will not be free until we expose ourselves.
Why do we often choose to conceal ourselves and cover things up? For the simple reason that it is a terrible thing for us to realize that we are nothing. Do we know what it means to go from thinking that we’re special and important, from being respected publicly, from thinking that we have done great things, from being talented, wonderful, good-looking, charming, to recognizing on the contrary, we’re naked and of no consequence whatsoever? It requires strength to accept that, a lot of strength. And yet we can’t even accept the slightest blemish that we might have, or any fault, failure, error or sin that we may have committed, without covering it up with a lie, and then covering up that lie with a second one, and then the second with a third.
A person may conceal his or her nakedness by means of an inferiority complex, by acts of aggression, by self-justification, by donning various masks, and by many other means. Instead of exposing our nakedness, we seek to regain our balance and compensate for the weakness that are exposed by standing on what we believe are good qualities, such as our beauty. Our “beauty” may be physical, emotional, intellectual, or even “spiritual”. But it makes no difference. Whatever it is, it is a substitute for our nakedness.
Such strategies of denial also involve concealment from ourselves. What does that mean? It means that, even though we’re naked, we’ll live as though we were not, and thus live a double life. Joseph’s brothers told a lie about his death and just started to live a normal life. But it is nothing but normal for they could not banish the thought from their conscience. Or we may refuse to grow and progress, as though we were not naked at all. And this is something much more terrible, for it is a rejection of reality, and such a rejection can only have tragic consequences for us. Life is full of people like that. They know they’re sinners, they know they’re naked, and yet they go through life doing the very things which they hate, which disgust them, which they know are beneath them. And they know that they must somehow silence the terrible cry of their conscience, which torments them (Roman 7:15-20).
Our other alternative is to accept our situation and say: we’ll do something about our nakedness. We will declare our sin. We will confess our sin and our nakedness. And naked though we are, we will nevertheless present ourselves to God. We’ll tell Him: “You clothe us.” And that takes great strength. To turn to God as if nothing else in the world exists requires tremendous honesty and authenticity. And what are the means by which we will either accept our nakedness or pursue a life of concealment? That, which we call the ego, the self. Until we surrender it to Christ, we will continue to live in temporary reliefs and eternal torments.