As I was cleaning out a bookshelf a couple weeks ago, I came across a notebook that I have used in the past for sermon notes and random thoughts I have. At the bottom of one of the pages I read the words “I am scared!”. Upon a second glance I realized I had read it wrong and it actually said, “I am sacred!”. When I realized my error I kind of huffed to myself and thought, “Isn’t that just like satan?! I hate that guy!” I’ve continued to think about those words ever since and process how we can thwart the enemy’s plan of keeping us scared and move into the sacred way of thinking. Those words are just a flip of two letters but their meanings are endlessly opposite!
Recently, a naturist friend confided in me that she is feeling very fearful about this lifestyle. She’s recently moved into a new area and is growing with her church family, but is scared to get too close to anyone because she assumes it would be bad if they found out about naturism and her involvement. She’s been hurt before and doesn’t want that to happen again. She might not be wrong in how that would be looked upon, but right now, because of her fear, she is limiting her interaction with those in the church and somewhat with those in naturism because she is scared. I’ve done the same at times. I totally understand those feelings and I don’t fault her for them. They are very real and not necessarily unfounded. We’ve known several Christian naturists who have been shunned by their local church and lost friends they were very close to when they were found out or revealed the naturist part of their lives. It’s unfortunate that the people of God react this way when it was God who made the body.
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but is that the same as being scared? Can we as Christians be scared and still “do it scared”? I think so. It’s easy to be scared in this life and the enemy wants to keep us there because we usually run away from whatever scares us if we can. We rarely push through to do what’s hard. That’s why the saying, “do it scared” is a thing. We can discipline ourselves to react differently though. Like soldiers, police officers and firefighters, we can train ourselves to face the fears head on! God’s word gives us this in 2 Timothy 1:6-7: “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
I don’t think it’s a sin to be scared or even have some fear. But I think it’s what we do in the times when we are fearful that matters. Do we let fear keep us from doing what the Lord has called us to? I hope not! When fear becomes the driving force behind what you do or don’t do, then you are living with a spirit of fear and that is sin. When you say, “Yes, I’m scared” but then do what the Lord has called you to no matter the consequences, then you are living in obedience and what a wonderful place to be!
Deuteronomy 28:9-10 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.” Those words weren’t written to us, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t for us. We know the Lord blesses those who are obedient to him.
Does the Lord really ask people to be naturists? I wholeheartedly believe the answer is yes! When Phil told me he was a naturist, I wanted no part in it as you probably know. I was dead set that it was sin and not for me. The more I studied Scripture and listened for the Holy Spirit to guide me, the more I felt like this was something the Lord wanted for my life. That he wanted to use this as a jumping off point to show me so many more aspects of who He is and who He wants to be in my life. Am I scared sometimes of what might happen if we are ever found out? Yes, of course! I am human and fear is a human emotion. There are a couple people that we are very close to that don’t know we are naturists because not everyone needs to know. There is a difference between caution and fear. I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit nudge yet to tell those people. When I do, I will, but until then they don’t need to know. I don’t know that the calling is to make other Christian naturists as much as it is to show naturists Jesus. (Phil would disagree in the fact that he thinks everyone should be naturists.)
When we do it scared we move ourselves from a space of fear to a space of obedience and that’s what sets us apart. Sacred means set apart. Acts 20:32, “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.” Brittanica defines sacred this way: the power, being, or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and destinies. Um, yes please!
Acts 26:15-18, “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’”
Yes and Amen! Lord, use me! I know being a Christian naturist isn’t normal. I get it! I don’t want to be normal though. The world is full of normal people. I want to be different! As my oldest son recently said, “I want to be radical because Jesus was radical!”
I am going to go so far as to say this. If Christian Naturism is on your radar, you are probably set apart for a very specific purpose to a very specific group of people. You think your local naturist club isn’t a mission field? There are many who will deny that the Lord wants to use naturism for His glory. They are wrong. The Lord can use whoever he wants to do whatever he wants.
Maybe we don’t have to choose one or the other. Maybe we can be scared and still do the things that set us apart in obedience to the Father.