Radical Prophetic Simplicity


Perhaps one of the most amusingly ironic songs we ever sing is Matt Redman's, Undignified:

I will dance I will sing to be mad for my king,
nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul.
I will dance I will sing to be mad for my king,
nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul.
[chorus] and I'll become even more undignified than this. . .

King David Dancing.

King David danced in a linen ephod that covered little and revealed much, and when his wife Michael protested his indecency he said that next time I will be even more undignified than this! There is only one way for that to happen, and here we are, fully clothed, relating our worship to David's, and saying with him that we will get naked! What a wonderful declaration! Mind you, I have yet to see anyone put that joyous affirmation into action. Not even me, well, except in private.

Biblical Incidents of Nakedness

There are many Biblical incidents of nakedness: Adam and Eve; Elijah lived and ministered naked for 3 years; Micah prophesied nude; Peter fished naked; Jesus purchased our salvation hanging naked on the cross; the Holy Spirit came on Saul and he stripped naked and prophesied.

So common was it for prophets to be naked that when Saul did it was said of him, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

He stripped off his clothes and he also prophesied before Samuel. And he lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 19:24 MEV

God is calling us to become a radical prophetic people. The naked prophets are a perfect picture of how prophetic people are called to live today. A naked man has:

  • Nothing to gain,
  • Nothing to lose,
  • Nothing to hide, and
  • Nothing to prove.

St. Paul looked at the early Olympic athletes, all of whom competed in the stadium in the nude, and said

Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 MEV

No ambition, no covetousness, no justification, no shame, no possessiveness, and no ego. This is a call to the most radical simplicity possible. We may not fully get there, but it is good to remove as much as we can of the social and emotional fabric with which we clothe ourselves. After all, these things only entangle us, and weigh us down.

Nothing to Gain

God Wants Nakedness.

If I live with nothing to gain there is nothing anyone can give me that will affect me. I am not polluted with ambition for I do not want to earn a position, possessions, or power. I am free from covetousness for I am content with what God gives me. I can be who I am in God, and do what I am called to do. God does not want us to so live that we gain favor; he wants to give us favor! God does not want transparency; He wants the radical simplicity of nakedness.

Nothing to Lose

If I live with nothing to lose there is nothing anyone can take away from me that will affect me. I own nothing. I am naked so you cannot take away my clothing, my covering of ego and ambition, place and possessions. God provides for all my needs. This is true freedom.

We unnecessary clothe ourselves with the fig leaves of good appearance, reputation, and ego. We need to do as the prophets of old and strip ourselves bare before God, and before people.

Nothing to Hide

If I live with nothing to hide I live without shame. I don't hide my imperfect past or present brokenness. The lamb was slain, the blood was shed, Jesus covered it all - and He set me free from the compulsion to sin. I do not need to stand before you covered in fig leaves of denial and excuses I have sewn together. And if I do sin, I repent. So here I am, naked and unashamed before you. And it takes too much energy to hide that I am a broken imperfect man, so I don’t. You will find out soon enough anyway.

Nothing to Prove

God is my advocate. I am the unique and glorious person God made me, not just another reflection of church culture. I don't have to justify myself or measure up to anyone's image of what a spiritual person is like. I am no longer trying to prove I am a mighty man of God and a great and powerful prophet. Those living with something to prove always have one eye on God and another eye on other people. What an exhausting way to live.

My identity is secure. I am a child of God, a son of the King. That is all I am and all I need. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return to God. What you see is what you get.

Naked Before Our God.

God is calling forth an army of naked prophets with nothing to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to hide, and nothing to prove. Only in that fearless state of radical abandon to God can we speak His Word without restraint and with maximum authority, power and impact.

It is time to skinny dip in the River of the Spirit, and then walk naked and unashamed through the land. Only then can we say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done, free from the fear of man, clothed with simplicity and the favor of God.

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