My wife likes to dress me, and by that I mean she is always trying to subliminally chose the clothes I wear each day. Like yesterday . . .
"It's going to be really cold tomorrow. Perhaps you should put on some more layers and wear that sweater I got you."
I usually ignore her suggestion to put on more layers. I also usually get uncomfortably cold later in the day.
Layers can keep our sensitive bodies warm when the temperature outside gets cold. We also can build up layers in our relationships. Layers to keep us safe.
"How are you this morning ?"
Quite often we are NOT fine when we are asked how we are, but we just don't want people to begin peeling back the layers and getting too close to us. We are afraid of what might get revealed about us. We are afraid of having our emotions or our sins exposed.
Have you built up "layers" in your life? The sins you keep to yourself so no one will know? Jesus knows . . .
"43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” - John 1 43-51
Jesus knows everything about you, like he did with Nathanael. That story we just read kind of makes me wonder just what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree . . . when he thought no one was watching.
We all have those secrets in our lives. Those things we have done wrong. Thew sins we have committed. We keep them safe and warm, buried beneath layer upon layer of pride and fear. The fear of what others might say if they ever found out.
Remember the story of the woman at the well?
"16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet." - John 4:16-19
Jesus has a way of getting right down to the basics. He can peel back the layers like an onion. And do you know what the primary tools He uses to do the peeling are? The Bible, His Holy Word . . . and love.
Do you have a close friend? How about a small group? Are there people in your life who you can talk to in times of need? There should be. I have an amazing friend in my life who keeps me accountable. After many talks and tear-filled conversations there are not many layers left between us. As a result we are very close.
And a small group. In the safety of a small discussion group, emotional layers can get peeled away. The result is a very close, tight-knit group, with Christ at its center.
Layers can be good when "the weather outside is frightful" but layers can be bad if we try navigating this life all by ourselves. I would encourage you today to gather with a bunch of friends and allow those painful layers to be stripped away in the restorative waters of God's Word. Open up to Jesus. He knows everything about you anyway. Open up to him and remove the layers of chains you have clothed yourself with. You will be glad you did. And so will Jesus be glad.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin