Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Joy is found not by manufacturing it, but by finding it in the middle of life.
One of the biggest joy snuffers is—you guessed it—shame. As we explore this gift of joy that Christ gave us, we cannot avoid examining what robs us of joy. To ignore the joy stealers in our lives means we will not walk in the abundant joy that Christ gave to us.
Is it rejection from others or painful circumstances that crush your joy? Joy is found not by manufacturing it, but by finding it in the middle of life. May God help us to find our joy in Christ alone.
***These excerpts first appeared in Shame Off You***
Despite my innocence, the sting of shame reached me as I felt the disdain of some who believed the lies uttered by the opposing side.
Did the truth really matter? I was shamed, either way.
And so, I prayed.
Right there in the middle of a deafening silence in the courtroom, I cried out to God, my Defender. Instead of despising the shame I felt so deeply, I asked Him to take it and to help me bear it. I asked Him for His perspective. I prayed for my children and begged God to grant favor.
Suddenly, there in the middle of what seemed to be the worst days of my life, my obsession with the grief I felt over my suffering and shame was transformed. I did not care about the shame anymore. I realized that this place of scorn could otherwise become an altar of worship. Feeling the hatred and judgment all around me, I thought of my Savior. Didn’t He choose such a place that I wanted to avoid? Where I had previously wondered how circumstances got me to this place and why God would allow such pain and injustice, such shame…I only felt gratitude. Gratitude that Jesus would do that for me. That He would willingly bear my shame even though He was not guilty.
He did not complain when He bore my guilt and shame. Instead, He did it with joy. Could I do the same?
Could I have joy despite my reputation being smeared by lies, my life being turned upside down? Yes. Because my life was hidden in Christ. My shame was Christ’s shame. My victories were Christ’s. To live is Christ, in the shame, pain, sorrows, and joys of life—all of it was for my Savior. If He allowed the shame in, He had a purpose that far exceeded my embarrassment. And God could receive glory from the ashes as I offered them up to Him.
The striving of man can steal our joy unless we accept the portion God has given to us. Instead of wanting someone else’s portion, we can ask God to see His purposes that are far beyond our own self-oriented goals.
God has placed us uniquely where we are supposed to be in this fallen world. Nothing is out of His control. The thorn in our flesh that plagues us? It is an opportunity to choose joy in the midst just like our Savior did when He carried His cross. When we do not gain favor, perhaps God is calling us elsewhere. Or maybe He is using that rejection to shape our character for another assignment. Worshiping at the throne of acceptance prevents us from pleasing God. Galatians reminds us that pleasing man is not our goal in this life, and seeking that favor above God’s causes us to live our lives in vain: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (1:10 ESV).
Why live with shame when you don’t have to? God has provided a way for us to remove shame and live in victory. Come and release your shame in Jesus’ name. Shame Off You details a biblical method for removing shame and is available at many retailers. Here are a few places you can get Shame Off You. Let me know you bought Shame Off You and receive a free bonus digital download.
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