Far too many believers are feeling dirty, worthless and ashamed of themselves; shame is a silent, but deadly disease that pollutes the lifeblood of many believers faith. As a result, we feel unclean and therefore unworthy to approach God and have the living and intimate relationship that he wants to have with us.
Shame prevents us from intimacy with God because it makes us feel unworthy and distant from him. God’s standard is nothing less than perfection and none of us measure up, if we did or we ever could measure up sufficiently righteous for heaven through our performance, we would not have needed a savior at all.
For it is God’s grace, not our striving, that makes us accepted and acceptable. It is God’s performance through Jesus Christ, not our trying hard to perform, that eradicates our shame. Some of us spend most of our life giving up.
We are tired, burned out, disillusioned, depressed, addicted to something. People around us feel frustrated by the huge disparity between our capabilities and our performance. They either pep talk us concerning our value, or shame us for not performing.
No one can have a close relationship with us; we push people away physically and emotionally, and push God away. We are the ones in families, churches, and society that people take care of-for a while, until we are given up on because of our lack of response.
For all the performance-based people around us, we are simply bad for public relations. Once in a while we find ourselves in an environment that shames us for being so defective, then we start trying harder, but it does not last for long, we are simply out of gas to start with, we merely survive.
The goal of most believer’s life has been to become disgusted enough with ourselves to try hard enough, so that we can finally win God’s approval. Statements like these, “I always thought that in order to do what God liked, I had to do what I hated,” or “I thought if I could just hate myself enough, ignore my feelings and drives, that God would finally like me,” these characterize the lives of tired believers who do not know who they are.
The truth Paul has proclaimed in all of his epistles is we could not get right with God in a million life times of trial and error. We could never make ourselves right with God; God had to do what we could not do for ourselves.
Yet many believers spend their entire existence unsuccessfully trying to be someone other than who they really are, paying lip service to the idea that we are accepted because of God’s grace, the struggle for acceptance on the basis of works is epidemic, but the greatest travesty of all, is the lack of understanding about our new identity in Christ.
Jesus was indeed faithful, he allowed himself to be crucified, he bore our sins there, the entirety of the sin debt of the world. Jesus died there for our sins, he was buried and on the third day God raised him from among the dead, having completed all that was necessary to accomplish our total and everlasting justification in the eyes of Almighty God.
It would be disastrous enough if the reason people did not understand who they are was simply for a lack of information, and the truth is that there is an absence of teaching concerning our new identity and what it means to be new creations in Christ.