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Scripture of the Week:

Romans 14:5-6 (ESV)

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

Romans 14:14 (ESV)

“I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.”

Shame RX of the week:

When we seek to please God and live according to His word, we worry less about fitting in than living authentically.

Uh oh. You are one of them. You actually think for yourself. AND you avoid the cookie cutter mentality. Trouble lies ahead . . .

Ever made a choice in your life because of your faith that you were judged by? Our society does not know what to do with such people. It does not make sense to our culture that people would not just “go with the program” and try to fit in. If you don’t fit in with the beliefs around you, you will likely be identified and labeled in some way. Shame rearing its head once again.

The world tells us to be ourselves, but when that means exercising our faith, well, then, there are punitive measures. Shunning, judging, persecution. Our response to this shame we feel for our beliefs is important. If we strike back, defend ourselves, or judge others for not espousing the same convictions, we are just as guilty as they are. But when we humbly walk out our faith and give people the freedom to choose their own convictions, God is glorified.

When we seek to understand the root cause of shame for personal convictions, we can extinguish shame and not perpetuate the shame cycle with those around us.

Insecure

One of the reasons people put down others who live with conviction is because they are insecure about their own beliefs. It is easy to just swallow the watered-down truth. It is one size fits all. Except for those who don’t just want to live an apathetic life void of personal conviction. Ever had someone mad at you for believing the way you do? Their anger stems from their inability to prove their beliefs to you, perhaps because your beliefs make them feel convicted.

I once had someone mad at me because I chose not to drink a glass of wine. The truth is, I had freedom to drink the wine, it was not a stumbling block for me, but I had chosen not to in faith. I did not condemn anyone who chose to drink and did not even draw attention to myself. But one person in the room began to judge me in front of everyone, claiming I was judging them. The irony in that moment did not escape me. I was the one being judged. Despite my attempts to say I was not judging them, my personal convictions convicted them. Was I to blame? Absolutely not, but in that moment I recognized there were times when I might not exercise my personal convictions in an effort to be a light, too. This was not compromise on my part, but born out of a desire to win their hearts more than anything.

Fear of Man

And sometimes we can feel insecure in our personal convictions because we can be overly concerned with man’s opinion. Rather than God’s Word and His Holy Spirit leading us, we can be tempted to follow man’s ways because we don’t want their shaming. There is a balance between being all things to the people around us and not compromising to win their favor. One of my dear friends was afraid to celebrate halloween because of shame and judgement she would receive. She knew that I did not choose to celebrate it, so she came to me for advice. She was stunned when I told her she should celebrate Halloween. If she did not have a personal conviction and was only basing her decision on what other people said, then she likely had freedom to celebrate the holiday. Listen in to my podcast this week for more on this story and how to approach holidays with conviction.

Expectations

People expect others to all be the same. It feels more comfortable. Everyone is “accepted” that way. Or, at least in theory. But the truth is, people of faith are not accepted because everyone else feels uncomfortable around them. Going against the norm is not expected. It makes people around us question themselves. But how we present our convictions can help us to communicate faith, not religion.

Avoiding Legalism

I don’t bring up my personal convictions to try and make people uncomfortable (insert smile here). Just living out our convictions will become evident over time, but how we communicate the faith we are living out can help those around us to understand, too. If I humbly share why I believe what I do when asked, then I don’t add fuel to the fire. And when I communicate freedom to those around me rather than legalism and an expectation that they should adopt my beliefs, God is glorified.

Compass

When we feel shamed for our opinions or our choices, we know where to go to resolve the inner tension. God’s word. Is our conviction drawing us closer to God? Or are we growing lukewarm as we pursue religious rules? We don’t have to prove our point-of-view. Convictions are about surrendering to God’s calling, not self-righteous judgment. When we choose to walk our convictions out with humility, others are provoked to do the same. Living our lives out before God with integrity means we want to live out what we believe. We don’t choose to believe things or conduct our lives in a certain way because we seek to be controversial, but because we earnestly want to live for One. And when we live by our convictions because of God’s glory, we bear beautiful fruit.

Our relationship with God is unique from anyone else. He is inviting each one of us to seek Him and to discover how He wants us to live for Him. Our individual places in this world all have a purpose far beyond mere preference. Personal conviction born out of loving God pleases the LORD.

When we seek to please God and live according to His word, we worry less about fitting in than living authentically.

Sometimes the LORD leans in and whispers to us a standard He wants us to set in our lives. It is between us and God. No one else. We instinctively know from relationship that this is what God has called us to. We might not understand the reasons, but we understand His heart. And we want to please Him.

Don’t be afraid to live according to the whisper of God to your heart. God knows best. For more on this topic, join me for the Shame Off You live devotion on Friday at 1:00pm ET and listen in to the Black and White Podcast this week as we discuss Halloween – To Celebrate or Not? You might be surprised by our answers to this question.

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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