Fig Leaves and Other Christian Coverings
He's anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor - that's to bring people into an encounter with the living God,
become saved - but God's got much more for us than that.
He's anointed Me to heal the broken hearted. That means God wants to heal brokenness in our lives so we can enter
into meaningful relationships, because without relationships you don't have a life. It's true isn't it? Without
relationships you don't have a life. People who've got no relationships, you know you kind of - he hasn't got a life has
he really? Got no friends, got no - you're just buried in something and many times we substitute - I know people that
substitute model trains for relationships. Watching it go round - wonderful hobby I suppose but not my thing. But
usually it's a substitute for having genuine relationships. Some have a pet instead of a relationship, have a
relationship with a pet. Well that's a strange thing really. Nice to have pets, they're wonderful, part of God's creation -
but we're made to relate to people, made to relate to God so we've got to learn to have a relationship with God.
So the anointing on Jesus is to heal those who are broken hearted and many times we saw people cover over what
they're really like, so in this story here we saw genuine love, the love of God. What God is wanting to do with us is to
put into us a love and to grow us so mature that we can actually enter into the world of others and help them. Now the
trouble is how can you enter the world of other people very successfully if you won't even enter your own world? How
can you be authentic to other people if you're covering up who you really are and what's really going on? The biggest
complaint against church, although it's often unfounded but there's some truth in it, is they're hypocrites. They play.
They're nice on Sunday but the rest of the week you want to see what they're like pastor. I don't know whether I do -
rather be in denial and look at all these happy faces and say aren't they all wonderful. The reality's a li ttle bit different
though isn't it?
The reality is that many people, their walk daily is actually inconsistent with what we believe and so God wants us to
grow and mature, to grow up. Growing up isn't easy. It's got some challenges with it and I want to sh are with you
today some keys to help you grow. In Genesis 3:7 we saw that Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together, made
themselves coverings. In Verse 10 he said I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself, so Adam and Eve as a
consequence of the fall hid themselves from painful reality. To actually come into the presence of God meant to face
what was really happening in their life and Adam said I was afraid. That means he had deep feelings, bad feelings,
bad vibes and he said because I was naked and so I ran away and hid.
We saw how Adam and Eve as a consequence of the fall concealed their identity, covered themselves up and then
hid and we see here a pattern; their behaviour of hiding came about as a result of them feeling fear and believing
God was going to punish them. So when we look at people's lives you see the outward part which is like the tip of an
iceberg on the surface, but below that outward part is where people really live. So if I'm going to grow as a believer
and grow in my relationship with God and ability to represent Him, I've got to change on the inside. I've got to explore
my inner world and discover what is in there. Now you don't have to become introspective, looking into yourself all the
time, but the Holy Spirit is given and He dwells inside you and His job is to bring to your awareness where you need
to grow up.
[The Bible said Jesus said 00.06.01] in John 14, I won't leave you orphans. I won't leave you without a Father, so if
you've been without a father in your life or been und er poor - perhaps your parents weren't able to function, your
father wasn't able to function as God intended to, nevertheless the spirit that God puts into you, the Holy Spirit of God
is a fathering spirit. It is to speak into your heart direction, correction and to bring about maturity so you discover who
you are and how to relate and live your life and how to fulfil a purpose. That's the role of a father, one of the major
roles of a father - so Jesus said I will pour My spirit into you and the Holy Spirit I put inside you will be a witness you
belong - that God is your Father, but also that spirit, the Holy Spirit in you is to bring you to face realities, to face truth.
If we keep covered up and hiding our life and don't want to go there or pretend we've m oved on when we haven't
moved on, or minimise what's happening in our life, we miss out on the opportunity to grow and fulfil what God called
us to do.
It's very difficult to enter into anyone else's life very deeply if you're very shallow yourself. Can Go d use you? Of
course He can. You can encourage someone, you can show an act of kindness to someone, you could visit them,
you could ring them, you can connect with them, give to them. You can do all sorts of things, but there's a dimension
of reaching into lives to really authentically help people which won't be yours unless you're willing to grow. So God
wants us on a journey. Now how does God get us to grow when many times we don't want to face the areas which
are damaged, nor address them? We want to jus t to push them under and get going. Well God's got a great strategy
and that strategy's called pain. Pain - you notice if you hit your thumb and you're in pain the one thing you notice is
your thumb. You notice nothing else. Your whole world is filled with THUMB! Isn't that right?