TD Jakes - Naked and Not Ashamed
All of us have gone through something that caused us shame. Have you ever lost something that kept you up at night? A job, a car, or a relationship, or a person, and you wondered, "Is it my inadequacies that has caused me to have this loss"? Are you so busy crying over what was lost that you don't thank God for what is left? What you did made you hide from God, and God is looking for you. Even if you've made a bad choice, God said I'm still lookin' for you. Come before me naked, and I wanna get rid of your shame. Sometimes when you're under attack, your praise becomes a weapon. There is power in your shout. There is deliverance in your shout. There is healing in your shout. Sometimes you've got to get right up in the devil's face and go to dancing to let him know that you took a lot of stuff, but you ain't took everything. I still got my shout.
It doesn't look like how they remembered it. The walls have been torn down. The city is naked. It is vulnerable. It is uncovered. It is unclothed. It is not protected. There are no guardrails, there are no barriers, there are no fences. Anything that has no fences will let anything go on. You need walls in your life. You need walls around your emotions. You need walls around your marriage. You need walls around your property. You need walls around your brand. You need walls around your business. Anytime you cannot describe what you are, then you can be anything. Walls give you identity. And they came back to a city that was stripped naked. The walls were torn down, and the stones were burned, and little was left erected. And as for the temple, it was almost completely destroyed, but they were free. Free of the Babylonian rule, and free of the Babylonian food, and free of the Babylonian song, and free of the Babylonian debauchery, and free from their connections with their oppressors. At least they were free.
So when they got back home, and they dug the foundations of the temple, not the temple they had just laid. The foundations were laid to rebuild the second temple out of what was left. And they were hampered by limited resources. They couldn't finish it. And the foundation showed little signs of ever becoming what had once been. The foundation depicted a much smaller version, nothing like Solomon's temple. The foundation was enough to tell you that this will not repeat the glory I remembered. And without walls, and without barriers, and without stability, and with nothing but the foundation, everything that they held dear was naked.
And they came back home, and here they are, and they call for the singers, and the Levites, and they call for the harps, and the violins, and the trumpets, and the flutes, and they started praising God in a naked place. Stripped of it's gold, and stripped of his laver, and stripped of its courts, and stripped of his power, and its authority, and its walls. And still they danced, still they praised God, still they glorified God, still they glorified him and lifted him up, in spite of what had been stripped away from them. It was the death of what the old men remembered. It was the end of what was normal. Sometimes when God restores your life, you have to be willing to give up what you remembered, and you have to be willing to change what you call normal.
Are you in love with what you imagined, or are you in love with God? Are you in love with normalcy? Some of us need normalcy. We need everything to stay just like it is. Don't move my couch, don't move my chair, don't turn anything around, don't paint the room another color. I need it to stay just like it is. And yet, you serve a moving God, a breathing God, a changing God, a stirring God. And you want to walk with God, but you don't want to walk with change. How can you walk with God and not walk with change? Because God is doing something new every day, every hour, every second, every moment, and you're trying to make it, "Make it like it was". No, it will not be like it was. It was the death of what they remembered.
No wonder the old men wept, because to see this pitiful little foundation dug was to say what I remembered is gone, never to return. It is to say that my normal has been taken away from me. Like a baby screaming for a bottle, they cried out for what was. And some of us are crying out in our spirit for what was. We're staying up at night crying about people who are gone, jobs that are lost, situations that no longer exist, and we are tormented. In spite of what we have, we are tormented, because we have seen the death of what we remembered, and the end of what we had in mind. Are you so busy crying over what was lost that you don't thank God for what is left? Are you living in a fantasy of a memory that is dissipated in front of your face, and is not that the thief that has stolen your joy? Then maybe, maybe we don't have to have everything we had in mind to serve him. Maybe everything doesn't have to be perfect to praise him.
Can I praise God in an imperfect marriage? Oh, y'all ain't gonna talk to me. Can I praise God with an imperfect child? Can I praise God with an imperfect situation? Can I praise God with an imperfect position? Can I praise God with things half done, incomplete, foundation dug, no walls? Can I praise him naked? Stripped of my stuff, stripped of my name, stripped of this, and stripped of that, and still dance in the presence of God. 'Cause I may have lost my walls, and I may have lost my laver, and I may have lost the silver, and I may have lost the gold, but I have not lost my God. To God be the glory, stripped down to nothing but joy. Can you still praise him?
Sooner or later, at sometime or another, your faith will face the test of a naked praise, stripped of your this, and stripped of your that, and stripped of your friends, and stripped of what you had in mind, and stripped of what money you thought you would make, and stripped of all of the things from which you draw pride, and ego, and understanding of yourself. Can you still praise God? Let us talk a moment about the notion of nakedness. The young men shouted in a temple that was stripped, everything had been taken away. They have been born in captivity, but it was enough to be free. They weren't worried about buildings, they rejoiced in the liberty of being free. They were home, in their own land again, welcomed to worship their own God freely again. With only the foundation dug, and no money to complete even a modest replica of what they had, still they had a praise.
I wish I could get us to have a still praise. Sometimes when you're under attack, your praise becomes a weapon. And your start defying the enemy by saying I still got my praise. I lost my job, but I got my praise. I lost my car, but I got my praise. I lost my friends, but I got my praise. And sometimes you got to get right up in the devil's face and go to dancing, whether you feel like dancin' or not, to let him know that you took a lot of stuff, but you ain't took everything. I still got my shout. And all the people shouted.
To be honest, I did not create the title myself, it is extracted out of the Word of God, because God created us naked. He created Adam from the dust of the earth, and Adam was born unclothed. And the Bible goes out of its way to call him naked and not ashamed. Naked and not ashamed. He clothed the birds with feathers. He clothed the fish with scales. He clothed the lion with fur. But Adam and Eve, he created them naked and not ashamed, so that they could walk in his presence naked and not ashamed. Because your God is naked and not ashamed. Your God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Oh, you think I'm just talking about clothes? Oh, no, I'm talkin' about the things you hide behind. That you don't come before him with your real self, with your honest self, with your true self, with your confused self, with your troubled self. That you put on this image and you camouflage. I'm talkin' about camouflage. How you dress yourself up, so that you can fit in with people until God doesn't even recognize you.
Adam, where art thou? I didn't create you like you're looking. I didn't create you like you have become. I want a relationship with you, not your representative. No, no, no, no, I don't want a relationship with your degree. No, no, I don't want a relationship with your 401k plan. I don't want a relationship with your gender, I want a relationship with you, stripped down of all your accoutrements. If you want to talk to me, you got to come just as you are. You remember when Moses said, "Who shall I say sent me"? And God said, "I Am that I Am". "I Am that I Am". What you see is what you get. I Am that I Am. There's no shadow of turning, no changing in me. I'm keeping it 100. Just tell 'em I'm keeping it 100. Just tell them I Am that I Am. Don't try to put me in no box. Don't try to explain me. Don't try to define me. I am God, and beside me there is no other. I Am that I Am, and I come just like I am.
And so, the I Am that I Am came walking down through the cool of the garden, looking for the I Am that I Am. You didn't get it. Where are my choir? I need to find somebody to preach to. The I Am that I Am comes walking through the garden, looking for the I Am that I Am, because he had created Adam in his likeness and in his image. And he did not create Adam to hide behind stuff. And the naked power of God came walking through the garden looking for what he had created, and what he had created was naked and not ashamed, but what he found was in camouflage. And I'm wondering this morning if you're missing the blessing that God has for you because of your camouflage.
Now, let's talk about camouflage for a minute. Camouflage originally was a term that was referred to organisms, living organisms like animals, using camouflage. They're chameleons, they change colors as a way of protecting themselves against their adversaries. They camouflage themselves, so they if they lean up against a tree, they look like bark. And so, it is to cause the predator to pass by them because of camouflage. Later, the troops and soldiers started wearing camouflage, so that they could blend into their environment and not be detected and be able to do warfare because they were camouflaged. Camouflage started out being born out of fear in organisms to give me a safety to hide behind. And when God came looking for Adam, Adam was wearing camouflage.
Watch this closely. The Bible says that he made aprons out of fig leaves. And that when he made aprons out of fig leaves, in Genesis 3:7-8, he made aprons out a fig leaves, and hid amongst the trees. It wasn't just that he made aprons out of fig leaves, and these were taken from fig trees, he was trying to blend in with the trees, so that when God came looking for him, he would not look like himself, he would be one with them rather than one with God. So God says, "Adam, where art thou"? In other words, what are you doing hangin' out with them trees? I didn't create you to be dressed like a tree. You don't have to put on leaves to please me. And Adam says, "They heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the days, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of the garden".
And I'm wondering, I'm glad you came to church, and I'm glad you logged online, but it's not gonna do you any good to be here if you hide yourself amongst the trees from the presence of the Lord. I'm goin' deeper. Can I go deeper? Can I go deeper? Can I go deeper? Let me go deeper. Let me go deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper. Camouflage originally hid Adam from the presence of the Lord. I can't tell you how many Sundays I see the glory fall on some and not others, because others choose to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord. They tell themselves, "That's just my personality. That's just how I am. I'm not wired like that". They tell that, but the truth is, you're hiding. And when you put on something that ain't you, God won't touch you, because he knows that's not you.
Oh, y'all don't hear me. I'm gonna say it again. When you put on something that's not you, God won't touch you, because that's not you. It may be the you you put on for work, 'cause you're hiding amongst the trees. It may be the you that you put on to fit in your community, because you're hiding among the trees. It may be the you you became after you went through your divorce, but you're hiding amongst the trees. And the reason you're not getting everything you ought to get out of church is because what you did to fit in with them made you hide from God, and God is looking for you. Even if the you is wrong, even if the you has partaken of the forbidden fruit, God said I'm still looking for you. Even if you've made a bad choice, I'm still looking for you. Even if you're headed in the wrong direction, I would rather have you wrong and naked than have you covered up with some pretense that you covered yourself up in to hide from me. And the voice of the Lord walked through the cool of the garden and said Adam, I'm looking for you. I'm looking for you. I'm lookin' for you with your broken self. I'm lookin' for you with your depressed self. I'm looking for you with your confused self. I'll be looking for you with your frustrated self. I want truth.