Go To Church Naked
“Clara!” The Doctor excitedly welcomes his friend, flinging his arms wide.
“No! Stop!” she cries, holding her hands out towards him. “Stop! Don’t move! Don’t do anything!” She squeezes her eyes shut and turns away as the Doctor comes toward her.
The Doctor, confused and concerned, asks, “Why? What is it? What’s wrong?”
“You’re naked,” Clara squeaks.
The Doctor’s demeanor instantly changes, not to embarrassment, but to pride. “Yes, I am naked. I wondered if you’d notice.” He grins.
“Doctor, why are you naked?”
“Because I’m going to church.”
- dialogue from Doctor Who, The Time of the Doctor, Christmas Special 2013
(You can watch the scene here. Don’t worry, you don’t see anything you shouldn’t. ;) )
I love how matter-of-factly the Doctor states the reason for his nudity. Completely comfortable and unashamed, obviously he’s naked because he’s going to church. What other reason could there possibly be? How else would he go to church?
Disclaimer: I do not condone or encourage attending church without any clothes.
A few months ago, I was struggling with some pretty difficult emotions. I was feeling stuck and sad and hopeless. I was absolutely sure that the only way out of this situation was to draw near to God and lay everything before Him. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t read the Bible, I couldn’t pray, and I could barely bring myself to go to church. I desired to be at church, among fellow Christians, worshiping and crying out to God. But I had a hard time mustering the motivation. And once I did get to church, the second I stepped foot in the building, I could feel a weight pressing down on me, holding me down, making me unable to worship, silencing my voice. I was at church, but something was trying to keep me out of God’s presence.
I never doubted for a minute that God was with me. But during that time, I couldn’t feel Him, and I couldn’t enter into a really worshipful state where I felt near to Him. It took a night of encouragement from my husband and forcing out a prayer past my tears to finally break past that wall and begin healing. I had to be totally vulnerable with God, laying everything out on the table. I prayed and prayed, telling him of my sadness and fears and frustrations, and my desperate desire for Him. I just had to get totally naked in God’s presence, exposing all my struggles and shortcomings, bringing it all to light.
The Cover Up
There are so many things in life that can keep us from coming to God. (That’s really the enemy’s main goal, and he’s gotten good at using the many tools available to him.) The enemy used my sadness, and trapped me in it, until it was all I could see. All our emotions – sadness, anger, fear, worry, even happiness and contentment – can be used to keep us focused on our situation and away from God. Circumstances in life can also pull us away. Our focus is pulled by so many things throughout the day, and sometimes we just get so busy we forget to go to God. Sometimes what keeps us from going to God is a totally wrong mindset about Him. It’s not necessarily even a conscious thought, but an improper view of God can really twist our relationship with Him. Shame for all the things we’ve done can make us hide from God. We are afraid that we will lose His love, or that we will be punished if He sees us and all that we’ve done. Or we think we’re just not worthy, and there’s no way we could deserve the love and forgiveness He’s supposedly offering us. Or maybe we think He’s just too busy, or doesn’t care about us and our problems. There is a myriad of reasons, coming from ourselves and the enemy, that can keep us from turning to God. But it doesn’t need to be that way. We never need to be shy about coming to God. Just like the Doctor, we can be excited and confident about going to God, knowing that He’s going to see all of us, and love us.
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. – 1 John 1:5-10 NLT
Being afraid to go to God because of our sin is just silly and pointless. He already knows. “Hiding” it, only serves to hurt us more. So we can attempt to conceal our sin, and continue to live in the darkness and consequences of our behaviour, or we can go to God. If we do go to Him, He has promised to forgive us and completely cleanse us. Did you catch that? Going to God and admitting you did wrong doesn’t result in a reprimand or a lecture or big time punishment. All you get is forgiveness and a fresh start. Unlike Clara, God isn’t embarrassed by our nakedness. He knows all about who are we underneath, and He just loves us.
Take It Off
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 NLT
God cares deeply about our burdens. All our hurts and worries that we insist on carrying with us – we can just lay them down. God has the power to heal our hurts and lift our burdens. It’s hard to heal a hurt that you won’t acknowledge, though. It has to be brought into the light and examined to be treated. We need to lay our burdens down in order for God to give us rest.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. – Revelation 22:17 NLT
That sounds like an invitation, if ever I’ve heard one! He is saying, “Come!” Anyone who has a desire to know God more can freely go to Him. That’s the only prerequisite. No sacrifices, no period of cleansing, no ritual. Just a naked desire to know God.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. – Ephesians 3:12 NLT
Our sin and weakness is no reason to stay away from God. That gap has been taken care of; Jesus covers our sin and makes it possible for us to enter into God’s presence. We can confidently go right up to His throne, and receive everything we have need of. We can have the exact same ridiculous confidence of the Doctor and go before our Father, totally seen and totally loved.
It’s honestly just so silly that we would ever be shy about coming to God. He loves us, wants us, and has the power to fix absolutely everything. We can confidently go to God, totally in the buff, flinging our arms open, declaring that we are His, because we know He will receive us, no questions asked.
What is currently holding you back from going totally naked to God?