The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the church at Corinth, 12:9, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I know something about weakness. I suspect many, or most that labor in our midst, do.
Weakness produces the sour fruit of shame to those who would live Godly lives.
SHAME. Its power can cripple a human soul, like a crippling disease can cripple the human body.
Our God is a consuming fire, but He looks upon us with tenderness and mercy. He reaches out to us even when we do “that which we would not do,” in the weakness of our flesh.
Many struggle to be free of addictions and nagging sin, even those that make a huge Kingdom impact. Many of us lie before the Lord and cry bitterly that we cannot conquer certain inclinations. Like Paul, I myself had heard the voice of God tell me, “My grace is sufficient.” That brings me much comfort and enables me to put the next foot in front of the last and keep moving in the direction He is pointing. But the shame often endures…
You see I love Him. I want to please Him and be free of any and all things that keep me bound. He seems to love me, no matter what. He doesn’t excuse me; He just coaxes me to continue on.
When the Pharisees were to stone the woman caught in adultery, Jesus knelt and began to write in the dirt. One by one, the Pharisees slipped away, dropping their stones as they went. I believe had this event occurred in our time, Jesus might have used His finger to write:
Adulterer… Drunkenness… Pornography Addiction… Homosexual… Thief… Embezzler… Abortion… Sexual Sin…
These are the things that we, like the Pharisees, may carry in our hearts; dark secrets that no one knows. They see us in our church clothes, and they see us on the mission field. They don’t know the SHAME we carry in our hearts, that which makes us cry out in the dark of night; the SHAME that makes us feel dirty and unworthy.
Like many reading this, I, too, carry my own brand of SHAME: the bitterness that goes with the regrets of a broken marriage, the wretchedness of leaving His presence and returning to sin.
The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. The great ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman was stained by a forbidden marriage and adultery. There has not been a greater ministry of miracles since the time of the early church. Amy Semple McPherson had a weakness in that area, but saw tens of thousands swept into the Kingdom.
His grace was sufficient for them and it is for us as well.
Thank God He has taken away my sin, not just forgiven it. He has taken it out of the equation and cast it away.
When I learn to rely on His righteousness, not the filthy rags that are mine, and learn about His unconditional love for me, I become emboldened to speak out, to share the glorious gospel of grace, to start a ministry, to start a business, to just show forth His love.
Slowly, over time, He begins to clean us up in our lives, to match what is already a reality in our “position” in Him. Ever so slowly, even our SHAME is defeated by His grace.
If we could only forgive ourselves as quickly as He does, our SHAME issues would go away.
What could we do? What could we accomplish? Oh, if we will only cast off the anchor of our SHAME…
WHAT COULD WE DO IF WE WEREN’T ASHAMED?
-Rod Davis Kingdom Business Network Covenantal Kingdom Concepts