Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Opponents of Grace: Shame

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 NKJV

 We've begun a study exploring the many opponents of God's over the top, too good to be true but true, amazing Grace. Paul admonished us to stand fast in this liberty we have in Christ. No need to stand fast if there existed no opposition.

 Today, I want to expose yet another opponent of Grace. The vile, painful, humiliating feeling called shame. That wretched notion that plagues your mind accusing you always of being a failure and declares to you that you are filthy, dirty, just plain trash. Whenever we blow it or miss the mark these feelings attack our thinking. This is shame opposing your right standing before God.

11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11 NKJV

 God isn't in the shame giving business. He is the one bestowing righteousness and forgiveness not dispersing shame. Sadly many see shame as the way correction comes.

 God is a good Father. He isn't shaming you to better you or to instruct you. Jesus is the shame remover. Grace makes us shame-free in Christ. 

 Today, in our modern secular society, many have turned shame into a mere buzz word. If one disagrees publicly with someone else beware you're now accused of shaming them. If your doctor tells you to lose weight because of health concerns such as diabetes or high blood pressure or heart disease beware that physician just shamed you. Don't allow hypersensitivity in a secular culture to mold your mind and adopt their definition of shame. 

 The challenge is if we accept this definition of shame we dilute the real definition of shame. Shame is a spiritual enemy. It isn't based on mere emotion. It is a destructive force from the enemy designed to hinder your growth in Grace. 

 Shame has a three pronged attack. First shame seeks to attach itself to you and your life so as to disqualify you. It says you're too far gone. You can't be used of God. You can't receive your healing or God's blessings. You are too far in sin for God to save you. 

 Secondly, shame attempts to hinder your influence. When you try to pray for someone else you sense your own limitations and failures. Shame says who do you think you are trying to lead someone to Jesus? You're a hypocrite, look at your life. Shame hinders us from ministering in the Gifts of the Spirit to the Church or bring healing to the infirmed. It says God won't answer your prayers. It puts up road blocks to your ministry. Write a book? Preach a sermon? You're unworthy! Shame is a cruel opponent.

 Lastly, shame targets our thought life and thinking. It replays our failures in our mind over and over. Think of the victims of sexual assault or any assault for that matter. The victim feels like it was their fault. It is especially cruel to men who are raped in prison settings or physically assaulted by another person. The thoughts plague their mind, you should have resisted more. Why did you not fight back? Why are you so weak? The number of actual male sexual assault victims are astronomical but because of shame, many won't say a thing. They just bottle up their pain.

 Shame seeks to stifle growth. Shame tries to cripple your walk in Christ. It doesn't just say that sin you committed was wrong but you are wrong and bad and just a worthless sinner. Tragic how religion feels shame is the best way to instruct God's Church. Religion points out your flaws, faults, and failures and figuratively rubs your nose in them. Grace reminds you of Jesus once for all sacrifice and Finished Work. Tradition says look at your sin, Grace shouts look at my Savior!

 We defeat shame by resting in our right standing in Christ. 
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

 Jesus bore our shame. He exchanged our failures with His triumph. He made us totally acceptable to our Father God. God is not looking upon your failures and shouting shame on you! Jesus bore all our sin and shame, God is satisfied with the once for all sacrifice of Christ Jesus. He isn't ashamed of us, our Father rejoices over us with exceeding gladness and joy. 

 In summation, shame is a cruel, cunning spiritual enemy and opponent of Grace. We steadfastly resist shame by looking to the triumphant Cross of Christ. Rest in the Finished Work. Knowing and understanding how the Finished Work of Christ applies to you and receiving the truth of our perfect right standing, complete redemption, total forgiveness, and full acceptance by our Father disarms shame in our lives and renders it harmless and ineffective in our growth in Grace. 
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