Inspired by “Breaking Me Down (Layer by Layer)” by Dez Childs
2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (NIV)
Have you ever really taken the time to look at an onion? It doesn’t matter what type of onion: red, yellow, or Spanish. The outside of the onion is wrapped in a brown skin, curled at the edges, and very thin and delicate to the touch. In fact, pieces will fall into your hand if you handle it. Once this brown skin is removed, there is a layer that is white, with a bit of green and traces of the brown still there. This layer is thicker. The next layer is even thicker and whiter, and with each further layer, the onion becomes whiter and whiter, approaching the center or the heart of the onion.
A few months ago, I was struggling with a lot of issues. I felt God calling me to take my Christianity more seriously. So I started trying to be a better Christian, but there were barriers in my way. It seemed that every time I dealt with one, there were more confronting me. I came up with a word picture that I think is pretty accurate: I felt I was trapped in the center of an onion.
Okay, go ahead and laugh, but bear with me. I would ask God to help me deal with an issue, and He would, but it always involved a lot of crying. Then I’d discover there was yet another layer that needed to be peeled away. I felt like it was never ending; I would never be free.
The onion was what I had developed to protect myself from life’s hurts. The only problem was that life’s hurts got locked in there with me and I was imprisoned, which only kept me from developing close relationships with other people. I finally understood that if I would place myself in God’s fortress I could safely let Him remove the onion.
When I abide under the shadow of the Almighty, I am secure. God is also teaching me the proper way to react when I feel under attack from others. I am secure in the knowledge of who I am in Christ, so I can look past what a person is saying to see the pain that person must be in. Now that I have fully accepted God’s love for me, I am learning to love others with His love that is flowing through me. There is such freedom in not having to protect myself!
When we become Christians we start being changed almost immediately by God. He gets rid of the easier stuff and then concentrates on the more deep rooted things that have laid dormant inside us. Each layer has to be carefully removed to reveal the perfect creation that God made.
It’s a weird concept, but God made us just like onions. God wants each of us to be the best we can be. He is constantly at work, peeling and perfecting us, but we need to be willing to trust that what he removes and refines is what is best for us.
So my challenge to you today is to trust the wisdom and the love God has for us through this process. Give Him your permission to start the job and I promise you that in the end, though it might be a little painful, you’ll be the perfect creation that God made you to be from the start.
I was an onion before Christ set me free;
Layers upon layers of iniquity.
An ugly old onion whose fragrance was strong;
That my Jesus bought and loved all along.
Unknown to me what He was going to do;
Of what He was planning, I had not a clue.
Pulling each layer off one by one,
In order to make me more like Jesus the Son.
The first layer, wasn’t so bad,
I saw all the sins that I knew I had.
They were easy to fix, just change the way I talk,
And learn more of how He wanted me to walk.
Reading His Word, and learning again;
How to put aside my life of sin.
But the next layer was pulled which hurt more,
He was getting closer to the core.
Unknown what He would find there,
I simply gave it to Him in prayer.
As another layer was removed, He started to cry;
Pulling this layer brought pain to my Father on High.
And I was crying over the sadness I felt;
The brokenness and all of the guilt.
Past memories that I thought were gone;
But they were buried under layers disguised in a fragrance so strong.
As onions are peeled more and more,
They put tears in our eyes as we get close to the core;
So my Father wept over my pain;
Giving me a balm of comfort and strength to sustain.
“NO MORE LAYERS!” I would scream,
As He continued to peel each layer off of me.
“I’ll have nothing left, my Lord, what will I do?
I’ll be nothing but a worthless core to You.”
But He simply said “Trust Me,” continuing to peel,
I believed He was blinded to my pain that was so real.
Year after year I shrunk more and more;
Until all that was left of this onion was a core.
It was then that I began to understand;
As the Lord embraced me in His loving hand.
He said, “Now, and only now, can you be;
The creation that will minister before Me.
“Clothed with the righteousness, only from above;
one are your layers of, self, so you can be filled with My love.”
He look my layers of sin, hurt and pain
And clothed me with love, truth and mercy in His name.
Yes, we are all onions, learning with each day
How to overcome as each layer is taken away.
Some layers tear and pull at our heart;
While others grieve us to our innermost part.
But we are nothing but an ugly onion without Christ.
Layers upon layers of pride, sin and strife.
Only God can take those layers away.
And clothe us with His righteousness in that Final Day.
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dez Childs is a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter from South Jersey. “Breaking Me Down (Layer by Layer)” can be found on her Heart Cry CD which can be found on amazon, itunes, or on her website. For more information about Dez you can go to her website at: www.dezchilds.com
Want to read other devotionals written by Tim? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindreds-devotional-series/463516160364310