When Adam and Eve were wracked with shame and guilt from their sin, the first thing they did was cover themselves with fig leaves. No longer were they naked and unashamed before God. Their intimacy with God had been broken and they futilely attempted to cover their broken consciences.
There are times in the Bible when individuals took their clothes off in the presence of God, to show their willingness to be vulnerable and transparent in the presence of God. King Saul took his clothes off for 24 hours when the Spirit of God came on him and he prophesied (I Sam. 19) and David stripped down and danced before God when the Ark of God returned to Jerusalem. His proud wife remarked that he had been acting like a foolish one but David retorted that he would humble himself even further before God (2 Sam. 6).
So it’s interesting that Jesus removed His clothes before He washed the disciples’ feet and so demonstrated His humble servant heart. Jesus was so secure in who He was that He wasn’t threatened to reveal Himself before God and others. Jesus had so emptied Himself of pride that He sought God’s will for Him and willingly came and died on a cross so that He could deliver sick and broken humanity, set the captives free, support and comfort the lonely and give hope to the hopeless (Luke 4:18). To God, every human being is valuable. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God wants us to come to Him without the cover-ups, pretences, façades and masks: to bend before Him on our knees, in awe of His great love and authority. As we develop this intimacy with God we eventually relinquish all of our desire and efforts to cover our mistakes and sins. We are enabled to be helpless, exposed and visible before our Father and to grow in revelation of our unmerited receipt of His great love.
“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice” (Psalm 51:16-17 Message Bible).