That’s the shared sentiment of almost every person who has ever walked the face of the earth. Strangely enough, it ties in to why we don’t like to be naked in public.
According to Genesis, the first thing Adam and Eve felt after they had sinned against God was that something was missing—namely, their clothes: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Gen 3:7).
The truth is, they had been naked since creation, but only after sinning did it bother them. What changed? Saint Augustine had a great answer: prior to their sin, Adam and Eve felt “clothed” in the love and acceptance of God.1 Having been stripped of that, they felt exposed. Something wasn’t right. Something was missing. They went from perfect security to “naked and afraid.”
How did they react? The way normal people who find themselves naked in public have reacted ever since. If you have a problem sleepwalking and suddenly wake to find yourself standing in a Super Walmart stark naked, your first instinct is probably not to pick up a few odds-and-ends for the house. You run to the clothing section to put something on and pray no one who knows you sees you. This is not a time for multitasking.
Adam and Eve’s response to their nakedness typifies how we now go through life. Our souls feel naked. Life therefore becomes a quest to find that “thing”—that relationship, that possession, that achievement—that will make us feel accepted, significant, secure, loved—“clothed” again. We turn to the “fig leaves” of family, romance, power, approval, comfort, or control. But try as we may, these clothes never quite seem to fit. That’s because what we’re missing is much, much greater than anything the earth can supply. We are missing the love and acceptance of the Almighty God.
Eighteenth-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal explained it this way: “There was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace. . . . This infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.”2
Each of us is born with a humongous, God-sized vacuum in our heart. All the things we try to replace God with—family, success, sex, friendships, travel, fame, drugs, pornography—leave us empty. They may make us feel, for a while, like we’re closing in on happiness. But, inevitably, they leave us yearning for more. They just aren’t big enough—not God enough—to satisfy us.
Greear, J. D., and David Jeremiah. 2018. Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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