These words stood out among the rest — despising the shame. The preacher shared a great many words Sunday, but my heart hung on these three words from Hebrew 12:2 — despising the shame.
The verse is one I think of often, pondering the price for which I was paid, “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.”
I thought, “Why did He despise the shame?”
Because shame says, “Hide.”
Grace bids us, “Come.”
That’s why He came to us, so we could come to Him. Perhaps a Bible scholar would tell me different, and the words in that verse imply something entirely different. For me, it tells of God’s desire for, and how shame keeps us away from Him. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden — hid — we hide because of shame.
And Jesus reached far and wide joining heaven and earth, as He stretched out His arms on that cross, made to be sin for us and died a criminals death, just so we could be near and He could be near.
I was going to share this post on Friday, but a couple of days last week took me on a detour. Perhaps I needed to wait to hear the words from the preacher on Sunday. Maybe it was God confirming and resounding, “Yes, I despise the shame because it keeps you from Me.”
Shame has kept me from God more than any other hinderance — thinking God saw me, as I saw myself.
A few years ago, a trusted elder of a church shared with me a vision he had. He describes he saw me as a girl looking out a window that was blurred with black streaks. Gently he spoke it, “The Lord already said, ‘You are washed clean.’” He was unknowing of what this meant, but I knew.
Through that window dirty and streaked, is how I imagined the Lord saw me. Walking everyday carrying the heaviness of shame. Disgraced by the immorality I practiced before I met my Redeemer. I knew I was forgiven, but did not know how not to feel unclean. Why would God want to look upon me? How could He take pleasure in me? I wondered.
The sense of failure and weight of shame had kept me from approaching the God more than most anything else. Even though He says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)
To escape the feeling of worthlessness — we try hard to change our behavior in our own efforts, like the foolish Galatians in chapter three. And this is how The Message reads:
“How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? How could you think you could complete by your own efforts what was begun by God? If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives, that you could never do for yourselves — does He do these things because of your strenuous moral striving OR because you TRUST him to do them in you?”
We cannot sustain moral striving for very long. Eventually we exhaust ourselves. Yet, “He gives us everything we need for life and for holy living. He gives it through His great power — as we come to know Him better.” (2 Peter 1:3 NLV) This calls me, not to try harder, but to cease from striving and simply seek to know Him. This is where we find His rest.
Oh, that we would comprehend the depth of God love so we may be filled with His fullness and watch Him do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or even think by the power that works within us!
How can we dream big God dreams for ourselves? How can we believe God has a big dream for us, when we are struggling to see ourselves as He sees us? This is our fight — to draw our sense of significance, have our real needs met, view ourselves as loved and accepted on the basis of Christ’s performance, not ours. And to resist any work of the devil to have us live otherwise. Our fulfillment comes from knowing the love of Christ. Our eternal value and identity are settled because of Christ.
Replace the wounding lies
In His grace, by His grace know —
You are worthwhile and capable.
He said we are worth dying for and did.
He already takes pleasure in you, you are the apple of His eye.
Do not accept what the negative voices are saying you are.
Your identity is already settled in Christ.
You have what it takes since you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you.
Write It Out: Will you take your writing place out and be honest answering this question, if you need to be? What is that you have in the dark places, hidden in your soul? What is it that you are holding back? Fearing that if the Light shines on that dark or messy place, He will reject you?
Grant Him unhindered access. He has already seen it.
He already knows it, and loves you anyway.
Say it Loud: Pray this prayer Paul prayed. Pray if for yourself, and for those you love. “That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints, God’s devoted people, the experience of that love, what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it. That you may really come to know practically, through experience for yourselves, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God, may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!” Ephesians 3:18-19
Dream Again Series:
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