In 2 Samuel 6, there is a story about King David and the Ark of the Lord. In this chapter, David and his men are carrying the Ark if the Lord into the city of David. David becomes so elated at the Ark coming that the Bible says he “danced with all his might” as it was carried into the city. David was so moved with joy because the presence of God was coming to rest with him and his people, that he made a fool of himself (undignified) in front of his kingdom.
David’s wife, Michal, was terribly embarrassed by this that she confronted David. And when she does David responds with, “I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight” (2 Samuel 6: 22, NIV).
The more and more I walk with the Lord, I become much more aware of just how unimportant my dignity is to Him. He constantly challenges me to put my dignity aside and follow Him with the passion and zeal that His presence stirs up in my heart. Check out the definition of dignity:
- The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect
- A sense of pride in oneself; self-respect
If we break down these definitions, dignity really comes back to pride. It is all about how others view us and maintaining this personal sense of honor and self-respect. The Pharisees were concerned with their dignity. They were concerned with maintaining their position of honor and respect in the eyes of the Jewish people. Jesus was concerned with responding to His Father’s voice, regardless of what it meant for His dignity. That is why He was constantly being opposed by the religious leaders.
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Have you ever been in God’s presence? I mean truly sat in a place, either alone or corporately, where you can tangibly feel Him there? If you have, then you will understand what I mean when I say that dignity goes out the window in His presence. You will cry like a baby and not think twice about what the person next to you is thinking. Even if you have a less than stellar singing voice like me, you will shout His praises at the top of your lungs and not care if you are throwing off the rhythm of the song. You will shout His name in the middle of a quiet room and not care if it annoys the person next to you. You will pray to Him out loud in a quiet restaurant, and not even notice the person next to you seething in anger.
As the church of Jesus Christ, we spend far too much time caring about what we look like to the world.
We spend far too much time controlling environments, or ourselves, so that other people won’t feel weird or uncomfortable. We say things like, “we are in the world, but not of it”, and use that as some sort of logic to “tone down our Christianity”. And we forget that all the heroes that pioneered our faith, responded to God’s presence in such a radical and triumphant way that they “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). We are too focused on remaining dignified, while their dignity was thrown into the fire when they surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
I have been as guilty as anyone of this; of watering down my Christian walk so that I can still have some impact but maintain my dignity at the same time. It’s time for dignity to go out the window for the church. It’s time for us to rise up and put it all on the line for Jesus. It’s time to pray bold prayers that have the potential to make us look really foolish. It’s time for us to be so consumed with “being Holy as He is Holy”, that our lives make other people around us uncomfortable. It’s never our goal to make people uncomfortable, but it’s also impossible to freely respond to the presence of the living God and not stand out from the world.
How about it church? How about it, brothers and sisters? Are we going to spend our lives protecting our dignity? Or are we going to let our dignity be nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ so that our undignified lives can shine as lights among our current generation? Which one do we think will truly send people running towards Jesus?