Scripture of the Week:
Galatians 3:1-7 (NLT)
“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? 5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. 6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.”
Shame RX of the week:
We all can be imprisoned in our minds by shame, whether we are free or not.
I saw it on their faces. Shame. They felt guilt for their lack of faithfulness. Comparison stole their joy and they promised that the next day they would try harder. But tomorrow had never come. Excuses and intentions kept rolling off the tongue and the vicious cycle seemed unending.
My visit to this facility was to inspire these women to faith in Christ and some back to the faith they had professed before they committed deeds that landed them in prison. The worship they offered was inspiring and the tears shed afterwards, authentic. These precious souls knew they fell short. They knew they needed grace. And that day I believe many of them found faith again.
Funny thing—those who were imprisoned knew their need and cried out to God, but those who are not literally imprisoned, don’t often see their need. And we all can be imprisoned in our minds by shame, whether we are free or not.
No matter what our walk of life, shame lurks in the shadows ready to accuse us when we fall short. In our walk with God, shame can make us very unproductive as we spin our wheels wishing we were more faithful to God. But shame does not have to have the final answer if we know how to deal with it.
Our salvation stories are each unique, exemplifying the personal relationship we each have with Christ. From the moment our eyes are opened with wonder at this incredible gift that was always there but we never saw it, to the daily walk we can often struggle in, sometimes our faith can take a hit – or several hits.
Sometimes we can wish we could go back to those early days and recapture that zeal and innocence. But then we know that going backwards will not help us to go forward. Unless we remember the things we did at first: “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, NIV).
But what was it that we did at first? We simply believed. We had faith that we had not had before. And even in the face of challenging circumstances and persecution, we trusted God.
But along the way, our faith took hits. We missed our time in the word, or fellowship with other believers. We looked up and noticed we had drifted far away. And we felt shame for it. The excuses rolled in like a tide. We were too busy. Not enough time. Maybe we were sick. Other priorities rose to the top.
These excuses would not have been uttered at the beginning of our walk. We just wanted more of Jesus, then. What changed?
The enemy of our souls wants nothing more than to get us off track. Focused on things that just don’t matter. Then he wants to discourage us. Shame is one of his favorite tools of his deceitful trade. but we also know how to do it to ourselves, don’t we?
When we feel shame for mistakes we have made or for our lack of faithfulness in pursuing God, we are reminded of how we began – by faith. It was not good works that earned our salvation. It was a free gift. And so it is now.
We never were enough then or now. The righteousness we have displayed was by His grace and enablement alone. There is no shame when we know that all have fallen short of the glory of God. God knows this. And His grace covers us—not so we continue in sin, but so we remember how we accessed this grace in the first place. Recognizing our shortcomings. Repenting. Then receiving His forgiveness by faith.
When we are overcome by guilt and shame because we see that we are still, in fact, capable of sin, we do the things we did at first – getting into His word and seeking His face. God will complete the work He has begun in us as we trust in Him to do so.
You don’t have to be in a prison to feel shame. Though many of us form prisons in our minds all on our own. Wherever we are, shame can call our name, but we can return back to who we are in Christ—forgiven and shame-free in a moment—by faith.
Need a little reminder? Read Hebrews 11 about other saints like us (that’s what God calls us, too!) who accessed the grace and forgiveness of our perfect, loving God by faith.
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.