Exposed…And Set Free!

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7

We spend a lot of time hiding.

Who we truly are.

What we really think.

How we really feel.

Our hiding began the moment seeds of sin embedded in man’s heart. Those seeds bore immediate, unwelcome fruit.

Shame. Guilt. Regret. Fear. Blame.

And that fruit still does what the enemy intended. It makes us hide.

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:7-8

Adam and Eve found themselves naked. Exposed. So they did what they could to cover themselves and hide their true condition. But their hiding only distanced them from God.

Distance remains the enemy’s goal, dear one. He wants to separate us from our Creator so that he can render us powerless.

But while we might feel better with a little distance, the God who created us does not.

But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Verse 9

God’s intense love for man pours out from the pages of Scripture. He pursues us. Always. Disobedience doesn’t withdraw His affection. Rejection doesn’t stop His pursuit. We may run from Him, but we can never really hide.

Yet we still try. And He still calls us out from hiding.

Like Jesus did to a woman hiding in the crowd in Galilee.

He was on His way to Jairus’ house to heal his dying daughter. The crowds pressed in on Him, enjoying the spectacle this extraordinary Healer brought to their ordinary lives.

But one in the crowd had no interest in the spectacle. She needed the Healer.

For 12 long years she had suffered with a discharge of blood. She had spent all she had on physicians, yet no one had helped her. Her misery continued.

And shame engulfed her. This condition wasn’t just an inconvenience. According to Jewish law, her constant bleeding made her unclean. Defiled. Unworthy.

Twelve years she had born this burden. Alone. Hiding. Hating her existence.

And then word reached her of a Healer from Nazareth. One who made the blind see. Who healed withered hands. Who raised the dead. And something took hold of her that had eluded her for a long time.


I can picture her slowly making her way through the crowd toward Jesus, heart pounding wildly with every step. And then she was there. Close enough to touch Him, staring at the back of her Savior.

She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. Luke 8:44

Imagine her wonder as knowledge set in. The bleeding had stopped. She knew it. It was finally over. Or at least she thought it was. A voice interrupted her private celebration.

And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” Verse 45

Familiar emotions surfaced immediately. Fear. Guilt. Shame.

She said nothing. The crowd clamored denial, and Peter responded with earthly logic.

“Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Verses 45-46

The wild pounding in her chest ceased momentarily as realization dawned. He knew.

And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. Verse 47, emphasis mine

She confessed everything. The woman hiding in the shadows unveiled herself before everyone present, baring her shame.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Verse 48

I have to ask, dear one. Why did Jesus do it? Why call her out in front of all of those people?

He already knew the answer to His questions. He knew exactly what had happened and who had touched Him. He had the ability to discern thoughts. So why expose her? Why not let her have her private, personal moment with Him that no one else was privy to?

Why, indeed.

Beloved, Jesus had more to offer that precious woman than physical healing. He could’ve let her slink back into the darkness, but then she would’ve missed the greater healing she so desperately needed.

She still would’ve carried her shame.

The only way to penetrate darkness is to let light in. And this dear daughter had spent 12 long years hiding. Feeling less than. Unworthy. Unclean. Separated.

When she willingly chose to expose herself to Jesus in front of the crowd she feared, He set her free. From all of it. Public opinion no longer mattered. Fear no longer controlled her.

Jesus made her well.

What are you still hiding, dear one? What grips your heart in oppressive darkness?

Expose it, beloved. Death lurks in darkness. Life is found in the light.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:2-5

Does Anxiety Compel Your Work?

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

There’s no getting around it. Scripture calls us to work.


Giving it all we’ve got.

So sometimes we get a little confused when we read the story of Mary and Martha. We see Martha busily serving all who had gathered in her home, and we expect Jesus to commend her. After all, He blesses diligent servants.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” Matthew 24:45-46

Martha was sure her service would bring her Master’s blessing. So sure, in fact, that when she saw her sister idly sitting at His feet, judgment surfaced. And she brought her frustration to Jesus.

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40

Look at the emotion revealed in Martha’s words. Lord, do you not care? Her thoughts are obvious. He should care, because she cared greatly. She cared so much that she commanded Jesus to intervene.

“Tell her then to help me.”

His answer surprised her. And—if we’re going to be honest—often frustrates many of us.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42, emphasis mine

Mary has chosen the good portion. Mary who sat while Martha worked.

As a former Martha, I feel her pain. I get it completely. After all, someone had to feed those people. Someone had to take care of things.

But Jesus saw something you and I can’t see without looking on the scene through a spiritual lens. He saw straight into Martha’s heart.

Consider this excerpt from Jon Bloom’s Things Not Seen.

To just about everyone else present, Martha’s serving probably appeared to flow from the heart of a gracious servant. But Jesus discerned differently. He saw that Martha’s serving flowed from anxiety, not grace. [see verse 41]

What was making Martha anxious? We know she was anxious about “many things.” But we need only examine our own similar anxieties to guess the likely root. I think Martha was anxious about how she impressed Jesus and her other guests. She was troubled at the thought that her home and serving might reflect poorly over her and her family. And this anxiety blinded her to the “one thing necessary”—listening to Jesus—and made many unnecessary tasks feel compulsively urgent.

This kind of anxiety is subtle. It has a selfish root but its fruit looks deceptively like unselfishness. This anxiety is the desire for approval dressed up to look like the desire to serve. This anxiety is my caring what you think of me dressed up to look like my caring for you. It can be so subtle that we don’t see it clearly. It can look so much like the right thing that we believe it’s the right thing. That’s why Martha was confident that Jesus would agree with her about Mary. (p.58-59, emphasis mine)

But Jesus didn’t agree with Martha. He’s far less interested in the work itself than the motivation behind it.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

And Jesus saw that while Martha appeared to be serving others, she actually served an inner need rooted in her flesh. That need caused her to serve from anxiety instead of grace.

I have been there, dear one. I have put in hours of anxious work, fully convinced that I was doing it for Jesus. Like Martha, I have even found myself frustrated when others didn’t share my dedication.

Then my precious Savior showed me the hidden attachments of my heart. And I discovered that He wasn’t the One burdening me with tiresome labor. I was.

Jesus comes to give us rest, beloved.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Although Martha did good work, her soul was not at rest. Mary chose the good portion: rest in His presence.

At His feet we learn who He is and see who we truly are.

In His presence He sets us free from the fleshly attachments that darken our souls.

Love compels us. His Spirit empowers us.

And He lavishes our work with grace.

Do Your Words Carry God’s Power?

And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 Samuel 3:19

Most of us are careless with our words.

We let accusations fly without thought. We put others down and call it humor. We’re often quick to say things we don’t mean.

I wonder what would have happened if Samuel had been careless with his words. After all, scripture makes an astounding statement about Samuel. God was with him, and He made sure none of his words landed without effect.

Beloved, everything Samuel spoke proved true.

Can you even imagine it? Honestly, with my track record the thought scares me a bit. Where would I be if God had worked that promise in my life? Carelessly spoken words would’ve undoubtedly wreaked havoc in the lives of people I love.

But that’s the difference between most of us and Samuel, dear one. His words weren’t careless. Samuel’s words echoed those flowing from the mouth of God Himself, and that brought about some amazing results.

… and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.

I wonder, dear one. What would’ve happened if Samuel had chosen not to listen when God spoke? What if Samuel had ignored God’s words, letting them fall to the ground unheeded? Surely Samuel would’ve had a very different legacy.

But Samuel didn’t make that choice. In a time when “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision” (1 Samuel 3:1), Samuel heard and lived by the word of the Lord. It wasn’t the common thing to do. No one else heard God speak. But when God spoke to him, Samuel took hold of those words, believed them and shared them.

And God moved as Samuel spoke the word of the Lord.

And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:20-21

Don’t miss it, dear one. Samuel’s willingness to hear and share God’s words allowed God to reveal Himself in a place where His presence had been absent.

And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Perhaps you’re wondering what an Old Testament prophet has to do with you. Some things don’t change, dear one.

Let’s join Jesus and His disciples in the upper room shortly before His arrest. Jesus had just declared Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Then Philip made an unusual request. He asked Him to show them the Father.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” John 14:9-11

After so much time, the disciples still asked Jesus to prove Himself. Just give us this one more thing—show us the Father—and it will be enough for us (verse 8).

Only when we make Jesus prove Himself—when we insist on sight to believe—it will never be enough. Consider what they had already seen! The lame walked and the blind could see. They saw Lazarus raised and every sickness healed. But it still wasn’t enough.

Jesus taught about faith in the unseen that leads to seeing. That’s what Samuel had. He believed God’s words, and His faith in them allowed him to witness what he had believed.

And that’s what Jesus wants to see in our day, beloved. He wants followers who hear His words (John 10:27), believe what He says, and then witness God revealing Himself as we refuse to let His words fall unheeded.

Let’s see what else Jesus told them in John 14.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14

Jesus stands by His word, beloved. He means what He says, and His word proves true.

And Jesus said in John 14:12 that whoever believes in Him will do the works that He did. That’s a pretty profound statement, don’t you think? Then He follows it up with grand promises of answered prayer.

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

Apparently God doesn’t want to see our words fall to the ground either. But—just like Samuel—God Himself must be the source.

Perhaps it’s time we learned to live by His words.