Jesus, The Cure To Our Shame

Jesus, The Cure To Our Shame

We all struggle with our secret shame. We know we are less than we should be.

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All human beings carry it wherever they travel and even when they sit: this black suitcase of shame.

I feel it weighing on me often, a heavy insufficiency.

Around noon on the day I am writing this, I stood in a long line snaking between black dividers and stuck my phone into my backpack.

And I stood there, in a crowd, yet alone.

Surveying the people around me and thinking, I wondered if anyone was surveying me. And I got a bit anxious. That silent companion slithered onto my shoulder: my shame. Shame always seems to come up when the noise dies down, when we are left to contemplate ourselves and to worry how others contemplate us (Which they actually do little of — we are far more concerned with ourselves than anyone else is.)

'Google' defines shame as a "painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior."

Our souls yearn back for the garden, for glory.

We know we are less than we should be.

Insufficiency is quite the burden to bear. 'If they only saw inside..' 'No one could fully know me and love me.'

And so the shame of sin and failure steadily fills our assigned suitcase, and we attempt to ignore it. Nobody can see our suitcase, normally, so no one mentions it. We wonder if others have them too. But we could never admit it first.

Guilt is one thing. Often guilt is a correct reaction.

But shame... constant shame is despair, a feeling of un-belonging and flimsy fraudulence. We feel we might be unmasked for what we are at any moment: weak.

But friend, in our greatest weaknesses and deepest shame, in the midnight of our days, there is One who cries with us, and yet is strong beyond measure, come to save us. He left high heavenly courts to be born on a musty straw floor. He refused to command angels to rescue Him as He was brutally nailed to a Roman cross. For our sakes, He humbled himself to reconcile our shamed selves back to the Father, taking the penalty upon Himself, He who knew no sin, who knew no shame. Jesus took on all the penalties for the sins at the twisting roots of our shame.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed." [1]

Healed. Set free. Jesus, wounded to heal us. How crazy. Crazy love. Love that you can barely believe.

So if you are weary and weighted down by your imperfect efforts to perform and achieve and be good (as I often am, when I forget to rest in Jesus), Jesus holds out a gift, a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. [2] He knows we are weak. He made us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

Every sin we've committed, we've committed against Him.

We spit on the cross of Christ, profaning His death, when we choose rebellion.

The Wounded Healer died in our place, if we will surrender our lives to Him... Lives that were never really ours.

In Him, you are fully known and fully loved. Jesus will forgive you every sin and throw your shame suitcase out into the woods with a loud yell.

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." [3]

The King has come. Rejoice in Him and forget yourself. We must carry the suitcase no longer, but may be clothed in white, in the clothes of Christ. Buried with Him to be raised with Him, dying to self and self's shame to live to Him. [4]

Jesus, Jesus, how I love you. "Oh, for grace to trust you more."

Worthy is the Lamb. And now that we know the beauty of our Savior, how can we even steal a moment to stare inwardly any longer? The inner darkness and failure vanishes in a bright, hot light. In the pure Radiance of the Savior. Our shadows slip away as our faces reflect His light. We wade into the brilliance, leaving behind our every effort, good and bad, every filthy rag. [5]

He is worthy to be worshipped, to be glorified, to be looked upon now and into eternity.

Him, the Fairest of Ten Thousand.

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are the answer. Before your face questions die away." [6]

Passages cited:

[1] 1 Peter 2:24

[2] Matthew 11:30

[3] Psalm 34:4-5

[4] Romans 6:4

[5] Isaiah 64:6

[6] C. S. Lewis, "Til We Have Faces"

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Did God Have To Become Human?

How was killing the perfect man the only way to save us?

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God reveals Himself in numerous ways. I can look to nature and notice order and law. God reveals Himself in nature, but not perfectly. God used prophets and teachers, but this revelation came through imperfect men. God reveals Himself through a book, a book for which we should be grateful - but not satisfied. A book is not personal, but God is infinitely personal. A book is the Word become word, not the Word become flesh.

Selwyn Hughes, in his book "Christ Empowered Living," says, "The Word passed from controlling the universe to obedience, from independent cooperation in the equality of Deity to dependent submission to the will of God."

Every moment, the will of Jesus was under the constraint of love and completely aligned with the will of God. In Jesus, we see a picture of a will yielded to the divine will of the Father, which shows that the One who holds all power uses it for good. Until Jesus, we could only see the will of man and the destruction that it created.

We can look at nature and recognize that it still retains a glimpse of the perfection and order it originally embodied, yet we still see that it has also fallen into disaster. We can look at man, the intricacies of the human anatomy, and the characteristics that set us apart from the rest of creation and see such a purposeful and magnificent design; however, we still recognize that our thoughts and actions can be so selfish and evil.

Until Jesus, nothing perfect existed on earth. Nature was beautiful, but it could spontaneously produce a fire or storm that devastated thousands. Humans were lovable, but they could also cause much pain. There is no other way for humans to understand the loving character of God without Him coming down from His throne and proving Himself to us.

I've never heard of a king who leaves his throne to persuade the peasants of his love for them, but the Creator of the universe did this for us. Until a perfect man came to display perfect love to the world, such a love could not have been known. Jesus was necessary for God to be known as a personal, sacrificial, loving, gracious, holy, immaculate, awesome, forgiving God. Jesus was necessary for the Church. God provided a perfect picture of what it looks like when our will is in perfect submission to His.

God never used the famous parent line "Do as I say, not as I do." The King left the pure and perfect heavens, put Himself in the constraints of human flesh and weakness, was born as a helpless child, and remained sinless and lived His life in service to humanity, who had betrayed Him. He experienced exhaustion, sweated blood, survived the number of lashes said to kill a man, carried His cross, hung upon it, and sacrificed Himself so that everyone may know that the God of the universe is love and that He invites you to be loved by Him.

By looking at the life of Jesus, we can see straight into the heart of the Father. God is a Christ-like God, and I can think of nothing better and I could be content with nothing less.

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