A few months ago I was in a planning meeting for an upcoming conference when a friend of mine began to speak about shame. She described our hearts as closets with boxes stacked up inside.
I pictured my boxes labeled “anger,” “apathy” and “lust” stacked up one on top of the other, some right on the edge of falling over and spilling out. Some boxes looked like they had been opened recently and cleaned out a bit while others gathered dust and cobwebs.
My friend began to describe the “shame” box at the back of our closet that we don’t let anyone – let alone God – look into. She said that God desires to clear out the closets of our heart and to grant us freedom in Christ.
I pictured God swinging open the door of my heart and pulling out my boxes. He opened the anger box, pulled out hurt and bitterness and asked, “Keep or toss?” He opened the lust box, my lust for marriage and kids, and repeated, “Keep or toss?”
At the back of the closet was my big shame box. Laziness, “Keep or toss?” Being bullied, “Keep or toss?” I began to see this clean closet, all swept up, cobwebs gone, light replaced, and I was filled with gratitude for His mercy to me.
I left encouraged but haunted.
God the Father purchased all of those boxes when He sent His Son to die, and He desires that I walk in the freedom that Christ’s sacrifice affords me. As I was driving in my car, God continued this picture in my mind. I saw His mercy in clearing out the boxes, but I began to see something more – His grace.
Not only did He clear things out of the closet, but He also filled it. He placed the Spirit in the closet of my heart to issue the truth of the gospel. So when I hear another friend is getting married or having a baby and my fear of being left behind creeps up, the Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ unending love for me. He reminds me that what I’m looking for, whether it is acceptance or security, I already have perfectly in Christ. Or when the credit for my hard work goes to my boss and that little feeling of “Hey, I did that!” wiggles in, the Spirit is gracious to remind me that my right standing was purchased by Christ, not my work ethic or how people see me.
I was also reminded of Proverbs 31:25 – “Strength and dignity are her clothing, she laughs at the time to come.” He didn’t just clean the closet and send me out into the world in my spiritual birthday suit. Where I once was naked and overexposed, He placed in me the Holy Spirit and clothed me with dignity.
What clothing? Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” We are clothed as sons and daughters, not in rags, but in robes of the righteousness, dignity and strength of Christ given to us freely and in love by our Father through His Son. Praises to my Father for seeing me, wooing me, calling me, saving me, cleansing me and clothing me. He is good. He is faithful.