Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paralyzed By Guilt And Shame

Too many of us in the Church stand in the shame of our past. It is true that we have much to be ashamed of considering what we have done against our God and the people he loves. But these things that are producing shame in us are things already dealt with, things long forgiven, things that no longer have any claim on us. When we bear shame we are not trusting the promises of Jesus. We have been promised that Jesus has removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. We no longer bear the guilt of the things for which we have repented because Jesus bore the blame in our place. It is done. It is finished.

Yet, we remain paralyzed by our shame. We fail to step into Father's plan and will, our destiny, because of our shame.

Along with us not trusting the promise is the enemy's attempted to keep us down. He will use every opportunity to remind us of our past. Although Father has forgiven and forgotten, the enemy will use people with long memories to keep us in our place. Regardless, it is still our fault for not facing the enemy in faith that the promises are true and are applied to us. Regardless of the accusations, name calling and denial of people who have known us, we should know who we are in Jesus and stand in that reality.

I believe some of us need to seek renewal. Actually, I am positive that much of the Church needs to seek renewal so that the authority of Jesus can be renewed in us and in the entire Body. Shame is like the threat of some disease that we do not have but the effects are as if we do. It is causing a dysfunction and the Body looks diseased. We all need to seek the Lord's face with all our heart, throwing off this cloud of shame as the authority and healing of Jesus rushes in. Yes, indeed, we need a massive healing in the Body.

King Asa did that in Judah. He heard from the Lord:

The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (2 Chronicles 15:2)

He went on to promise Asa great peace if Asa walked with him. The king then performed a great house cleaning in the land and they renewed their covenant that brought in freedom and great joy. But consider their steps:

So they gathered together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered to the Lord at that time seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the spoil they had brought. (vv. 10-11)

They renewed their worship, their relationship. They came with great sacrifices in honour of their God.

Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (vv. 12-13)

They agreed together to seek Yahweh with all their heart and with all their soul. It was a serious covenant between each other. This wasn't some "if I can fit it in" agreement but all consuming, first priority, life or death seeking.

Then they took an oath before the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams’ horns. (v. 14)

The oath would have been like a pledge of allegiance, putting themselves under him, under his authority, with a desire to obey him. It wasn't a somber affair but a celebration with loud voices, shouting, trumpets and rams' horns. They wanted everyone, everywhere to hear this oath. They were willing to be accountable to it. I would have liked to hear the words but the words don't matter as much as the motivation of the heart.

And the response of Yahweh?

And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around. (v. 15)

As promised, they found him and he was pleased with them and he gave them ... peace!

We need this same renewal where we renew our worship / relationship. We need to make this great covenant to seek his face together with all our heart and soul. Why together? Because we are the Body. We are in this together. We are dependent on each other. We need each other to be strong in the Lord. Then we need to make that oath of allegiance. Not quietly but loudly, so that everyone can see and hear and we will be accountable for it. And, as we renew our love with Jesus, the promises will be renewed in us and we will walk in the assurance of shamelessness and the peace he has promised us.

This shame thing is not Jesus' problem. He promised us peace that no one can take from us. He promised this because he was taking away the peace destroyers, the guilt and shame of our sins. No one else needs to recognize this in order for us to walk in this peace; people can remind us all they want. All that matters is that the relationship we have with the Peace Giver is strong and growing. Renewal brings healing and right now healing is the greatest need in the Body. Let us do this thing together so we can be the people of Yahweh that he needs us to be, that the world needs us to be, in this darkening age in which we live.

No comments: