SHAME IS AN INHERENT PROBLEM

Genesis 3:7 – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.

Before Adam and Eve sinned and fell from the place of honor the Lord had given to them, they knew nothing of shame. When their eyes were opened they became self-conscious and aware of their uncovered condition. They instinctively felt separated from the love of God. They hid from each other and from God, trying to cover up their shame. It is shame that keeps us from our destiny. The Greek word for shame means nakedness. We are born naked which speaks of our inherent condition.

It took God’s intervention to begin a true process of recovery. Only when Jesus became sin for us could a true recovery of man’s lost and shameful condition become possible. As we receive by faith His substitutionary sacrifice, shame must go because we are now fully accepted in the completeness of Christ.

Jesus demonstrated the Father’s commitment to removing shame when He ministered grace and broke shame in the life of an adulterous woman as recorded in John 8:1-11. Jesus turned the searchlight back on her accusers when He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). I see Jesus’ response as one of the greatest demonstrations of the love of God. Jesus found Himself alone with the woman. Her accusers had all left. Jesus asked her, “Did no one condemn you? She said, ‘No one, Lord’. Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more’” (John 8:10-11).

Jesus broke the shame barrier by emptying Himself. In Philippians 2:5, Paul describes how Jesus totally emptied Himself so He could be shamed for each of us. Our shame was put on the Lord Jesus Christ. If we receive what the Lord has done on the cross, we are free to sin no more just like the woman in John 8.

Jesus overcame shame in both life and death. Jesus was born to die and to rise again. He went from swaddling clothes to grave clothes in order to break the shame barrier for all who would believe on Him. The writer of Hebrews instructs us when he says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus broke through the shame barrier both in His life and in His death. We also can break shame through His life, which is in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Father, I thank You for a life free of condemnation. I rejoice because the Lord Jesus has broken the shame barrier once and for all. I celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit who enables me to break the shame barrier because of what Your Son has accomplished in the work of the cross.

EFFECTS OF SHAME IN A BELIEVERS LIFE

Romans 8:1-2 – Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

I believe this to be one of the most powerful scriptures in the entire Bible. It is now, it is in Christ Jesus, and it is the law of the Spirit. Today, we will consider some of the results of shame in a person’s life.

Shame produces a negative attitude. When one is under the bondage of shame, their tendency is to see life through a negative prism. They have only known negative feelings concerning themselves, so it becomes very difficult to see life any other way.

Shame causes a person to focus on themself rather than the needs of others. Shame is “self-consuming.” On a natural level, it is our own self-esteem that permits us to view others in a healthy way. Shame makes it difficult to be concerned for another’s circumstance.

Trust becomes an issue for the individual who feels shamed. Their defenses are up to prevent further embarrassment or hurt feelings. Shame is a killer of real friendships and intimacy. It is difficult to relate in a healthy way with others, if one cannot relate in a healthy way with themselves.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the shamed person to be sure of their salvation. Since trust is a root problem with the shamed individual, trusting the Lord and His promises is an ongoing challenge for the one struggling with shame issues. Faith is a constant battle. Rather than resting in the Lord, the shamed person is always in a state of unrest and anxiety. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The shamed person can never fully become all that the Lord designed them to be. A spirit of doubt is a root spirit that can control a person who feels shamed.

Shame will keep us from being bold and courageous in our witness for Christ. The shamed person cannot handle rejection. Rejection will come from some people as Christ is presented. Many are not interested in the gospel because it first brings conviction of sin. The shamed person turns “conviction” into a negative of “condemnation” rather than the means to salvation and freedom that is found in Christ.

Father, I ask You to reveal any shame in me. I pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to break that law of death. I ask You to fill me with the love of Christ, first for myself and then for others. Help me to reject shame and receive the full benefit of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

BREAKING THE SHAME BARRIER

Hebrews 12:2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

A simple definition of shame is – a painful feeling of having lost respect of others and of oneself because of improper behavior, failure not to meet the expectation of another, and not living up to your own expectation of yourself.

Many Bible figures had to overcome shame. Abram felt shame not having a child for whom he could leave an inheritance. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many.” God not only gave him a child, He multiplied his seed so His posterity was like the sand of the sea. Jacob was shamed because he deceived his father into thinking that he was Esau, his older brother, from whom he stole the birthright. Later, God changed Jacob’s name, which meant “deceiver” to Israel, meaning “Prince with God.” Joseph was shamed by his brothers who sold him into slavery. In Egypt, God raised him up to serve Pharaoh and save the nation in a time of famine. Some others I could write about would be Moses – shamed from Egypt and shame that he was inarticulate. Saul felt shame because of his persecution of the church and Timothy because of his age. Then there is Peter, who denied his Lord three times.

People do shameful things because they live from a shame base in their life experience. They are acting out what they believe about themselves. Many see themselves as a failure, evil, rejected, ugly, unworthy of love, and a host of other things.

Jesus broke the shame barrier once and for all in life and death. He gave us power in our life to rule over shame. He has empowered us to receive His forgiveness and acceptance. He wants to equip us so we too might help others break off shame from their lives. The Lord’s call for each of His children is to break shame’s power and be free to serve in humility.

One of the strongest proponents of shame is religion. Religion can put the expectations of others upon an individual. In Christianity, one can come to church feeling shameful. When they hear and receive the gospel they experience the freedom Christ has for them. Shame lifts, but as they hang around the church, shame begins to creep back in as others put their expectations on the new believer. We should never shame someone into being a follower of Jesus. God certainly doesn’t.

Father, I thank You for taking my shame upon Yourself. I thank You for the covering You have given to me in the Lord Jesus Christ who causes me to know I am loved and cared for by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me to communicate that love to others as well.

THE TABERNACLE OF GOD

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

The Old Testament gives us illustrations that are types and shadows of those things which were to come. The Tabernacle beautifully illustrates the triune make up of man. The Holy of Holies in the tabernacle is symbolic of the spirit of one who has been born again. The spirit in a person is the dwelling place of Christ through His eternal Spirit. God has met us in mercy as the atoning blood of Jesus is applied to our life. We have daily access to God by the Spirit.

The Holy Place, where the priests daily ministered to Lord, represents our soul and our daily service to God. The priests would bake fresh bread each day and offer it before the Lord. The priests would trim the candle wicks and supply fresh oil to fuel the candles. Each day, incense would be offered to the Lord as a praise offering. What a beautiful picture of our daily and priestly service to the Lord. Giving one’s self to the word of God daily is very important in receiving fresh bread from God. That bread may take the form of instruction, encouragement, and perhaps new insights into the nature of God. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Each day, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, keeping our vessels supplied with the fresh oil of God so we might be His lights in a darkened world. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14-15). Paul admonishes us, “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

The altar of incense serves as a beautiful type of our daily worship unto our heavenly Father. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Paul sums things up for us when he instructs God’s people saying, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-19).

The Outer Court symbolizes our body and what the world sees. To the world we testify of the sacrifice of Christ and join Him in baptism as we testify to death with Him and the power of His resurrection. Paul states “We know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Father, today I ask to be filled with Your Holy Spirit. Feed me Your word, cause me to have sufficient oil and to have my candles trimmed. I stand before You as a priest of God, offering to You the sacrifices of praise.

PAUL’S INSTRUCTION CONCERNING OUR WARFARE

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 – Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Paul was responding to his critics that accused him of walking in the flesh. He acknowledges that he is still walking in the flesh, but that he is not fighting this spiritual warfare by means of his flesh. Paul helps us understand, as believers, we are not using fleshly weapons in our battles. God has given us weapons to defeat the enemy which are “divinely powerful.” Jesus promised that we “would receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

Paul understood that the minds of people were in bondage to spiritual forces that exercised influence through the world and its systems. Paul calls this influence on the minds of people “fortresses.” The enemy establishes ways of thinking, belief systems, and controls over humanity by his dominions known as “principalities and powers.” Unbelief, false religion, and lust in the flesh are a few of the fortresses. Paul preached the good news of the kingdom of God to religiously bound people, primarily the Jews. He also preached to Gentiles bound by sexual and occult strongholds.

Paul knew the fortresses were established in people’s thoughts. As he preached the gospel with power, he understood he was “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Many believers think they are reasoning with others simply by logic and are trying to convince unbelievers to accept biblical truths by simply seeing the logic of their presentation. A well-presented message is important, but the battle in the reasoning of people’s minds is spiritual. In the power of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of God’s word, we too, like Paul, destroy fortresses set up in the minds of the unregenerate. This makes it possible for them to receive God’s grace of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many believers who have been able to believe for their own salvation still need deliverance from the world’s views. They are controlled by principalities and powers that are under Satan’s domination. This is one reason why the study of the Word of God is so important. The word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, continues to wash our minds and set us free from the world’s views to see and understand from God’s perspective.

Father, in Jesus’ name, I ask You to reveal anything in my reasoning which does not line up with Your Word. I pray that every fortress of the enemy would be destroyed in my thoughts and that the Holy Spirit would rule supreme in me so I might walk in faith, pleasing to You in every way.