When our Lord and Savior Jesus returns, He promises to evaluate the lives of His followers to see if they have been “ashamed of Him.” In practical terms, what does it mean to be “ashamed” of Jesus? How can we be “ashamed”?
Like Peter when Jesus was on trial, this can mean our denying we are one of His followers and not being willing to acknowledge Him (Mark 14:66-72). It can mean running away when, like the disciples, we are confronted with opposition (Mark 14:50).
Since we are surrounded by an “adulterous and sinful generation,” we can be tempted to make it our first priority to please other people. Rather than being committed to serving Jesus, we can be infinitely more concerned with political correctness, media popularity and sociocultural approval. It can mean rejecting the purity of His Word. It can mean watering Him down, explaining Him away.
As we think about our lives, we need to be aware that these kinds of reactions are possible. The Bible reminds us that we need to make a firm commitment to Jesus and His Word and steadfastly refuse to compromise. Like Paul, we want to be able to teach and preach, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).
Ask the Spirit to search your heart. Are you guilty of any compromises? Make sure you have the right priorities and are seeking first His Kingdom. Declare your firm commitment to the Gospel, regardless of what others might say or do.
Psalm 119:41-48 Names of God Bible
41 Let your blessings reach me, O Yahweh.
Save me as you promised.
42 Then I will have an answer for the one who insults me
since I trust your word.
43 Do not take so much as a single word of truth from my mouth.
My hope is based on your regulations.
44 I will follow your teachings forever and ever.
45 I will walk around freely
because I sought out your guiding principles.
46 I will speak about your written instructions in the presence of kings
and not feel ashamed.
47 Your commandments, which I love, make me happy.
48 I lift my hands in prayer because of your commandments,
which I love.
I will reflect on your laws.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
You just bought a new car and you are proud of it. Then you later see your friend with their new car and you are happy for them too. You want to talk about that new car of your friends so you go home and do the research on it. You realize that your friends purchase was just a wee bit smarter than yours. You were so very set on buying yours that you completely overlooked any and all others.
So, you might start hanging your head feeling embarrassed. You know that phenomenon when you learn about a new car for the first time, and then begin to see it everywhere? Shame is a lot like that. Once we begin to recognize its presence in our lives, we start to see how much emotional space it takes up.
The difficulty with shame, however, is that it encompasses such a wide range of very powerful emotions it can be difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way to understand shame is to think back on a moment when you just experienced it.
You may have felt embarrassment, discomfort or self-consciousness. Shame can also express itself in much weightier emotions, like when we subtly or suddenly feel, “below standards,” humiliated, inadequate, injured or abused.
So many individuals live under the weight of shame without realizing it because we’ve been conditioned by culture and life experience to accept that feeling as just a normal part of living life. Shame is simply always there; it’s that familiar yet profound feeling that in completely arbitrary way, we do not measure up.
Add to all of that, the pressure we often feel as individuals to be successful, sophisticated and in great shape, we can feel ashamed when we make even the tiniest of mistakes. At its core, an identity of shame is the belief that, in whole or in part, I am not enough. That “not-enoughness” is what drives our shame.
Think about it.
Maybe you regularly view life through the lens of other people’s expectations (whether real or imagined), and we’re beginning to buckle under the pressure. Perhaps you and I feel self-conscious about not having a boyfriend or a happy marriage when all of your friends seem “hyper” content in their relationships.
Perhaps a friend harshly betrayed you, one of your parents was emotionally or physically absent, or your loved one has a secret addiction, and you think it’s all somehow your fault. Maybe you are stressed about your children and how you handle things at home. Perhaps that hyper imposed stress is now at your work.
Yes, it happens. We get scared that we will be rejected by our family, friends and or co-workers. We get scared that people will even tease us. We get scared that we won’t know exactly what to say. We get scared the conversation will be way too awkward. It’s much more comfortable to talk about TV or sport or school.
The voice in your head says, I’m not a very good mother or father, wife or husband. Maybe you feel like the ultimate failure because life got “too” hard, and now your dreams seem out of reach, or you just don’t know who you are anymore.
Maybe you go through life with ever-present feelings of inadequacy; you worry what other people would think if they knew the real you. Shame lurks in all of these things. (I could go on, but at the risk of depressing us all, I’ll stop there.)
In spite of the overwhelming nature of shame, there is good news. The promise of Scripture is that when we turn away from shame, look to God, He transforms our shame into something beautiful — a sparkling, splendorous, vocalized joy.
Psalm 34:1-5 ESV
34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
It may well take a serious amount of time, and there will surely and certainly, always be moments in life when we experience various degrees and measures of shame, but when our identity is centered in Christ — not only knowing who we are in Christ, but knowing who He is in us — we can summarily discard the dark irrational covering of shame and, look inside Christ’s empty tomb and rise in His radiance. In other words, we have shame, but in Him, in His resurrection, shame, like that thoroughly defeated grave, no longer has any grip over us.
Whether you and I are simply having a “not enough” moment, or you and I have been hiding in shame for years, by His resurrection we have hope. You and I can overcome shame, because our Savior Jesus, our Overcomer already has.
There is nothing so healthy and beneficial to the child of God than spending time praising God our Father. Whether you and/or I are living in the valley this day, or you and I have been experiencing the mountaintops, nothing is so great an exercise for our hearts and soul as raising our arms, praising the Lord God!
You can praise Him when you feel good, you can praise Him when you’re sick. You can praise Him when you’re rich, you can praise Him when you’re broke. You can rejoice in Him when you’re happy, you can rejoice when you’re sad.
The Apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4-7) The psalmist sang his song; ” Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” (Psalm 97:12)
Psalm 96:10-13 AKJV
10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth:
the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved:
he shall judge the people righteously.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:
then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice 13 before the Lord:
for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth:
he shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the people with his truth.
Oh that our hearts our souls, our knees were in such an exalted place as this;
Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Let the Holy Spirit bring this into our remembrance: Jesus has done the most incredible thing. He has saved us from certain death. He loves us more than anyone ever could. So, unless we have somehow obtained God’s own written permission, do not be ashamed or embarrassed to tell other people about him!
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,
Dear heavenly Father, I praise You because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You created us in Your image and not in our own. Through Your great mercy and Your forgiveness You not only remove my shame, You faithfully transformed it into something beautiful and new. And while I don’t fully understand it, I know You have the power to help me overcome shame because You’ve already done so on the cross. Open my heart to experience Your love and mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Alleluia! Amen.