Maybe it’s part of entering a new year, or maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s good to put ourselves in remembrance of why we do what we do. And at the end of the day, I don’t want my reasons to be a paycheck or applause. There has to be a greater cause to our mission that fuels us to keep on keepin’ on (if you know what I mean).
Yesterday, I created the picture above to put on my computer desktop and phone screensaver. I don’t know any of the people portrayed, but their faces are my reasons for Mirror Ministries and Identity Advantage. I see so much of my former self etched in these photographs — and I remember why.
My Reason #1 (why I help others): Because Shame is a Cruel Trick of the Enemy
What is shame? The dictionary says it is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc. done by oneself or another. Yep. That’s my number one reason for telling people who they are IN CHRIST.
Shame is real. But the torture of shame is how the enemy repeatedly replays in our mind the things we wish we could reverse. This is why Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). To me, Paul could have easily said, “There’s now no [shame] to those who are in Christ Jesus…” and it would mean the same thing. The Greek word for condemnation literally describes the verdict of a sentence pronounced. Or we could call it harsh judgment (specifically against oneself).
If we back up to the previous chapter in Romans, Paul was frustrated with his actions. He said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate… I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:15,19, NLT). Sound familiar? It does to me. I’ve been in that wrestling match more times than I want to count. And I can even relate to Paul’s final summary: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (verse 24).
We don’t talk like that anymore, but you get the idea. He was ashamed. He hated himself for the things he had done wrong when he felt like he should have known better.
BUT… Thankfully, Paul did know better this time. When the part of him that struggled said, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” the spirit within him that knew who he was in Christ answered and said (next verse), “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. It may have been the end of that chapter and verse, but the Bible is only broken down this way to help us find scripture. The next words of Paul in Chapter 8, verse 1, are a continuation to his revelation about shame and condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
Paul made a firm decision to say NO to the lies of Satan. And that’s exactly what you and I have to do too. And it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been saved. Satan is a liar and he is cruel. If he can get us to meditate on our mistakes, he’s tricked us into shame and condemnation all over again. Don’t let him. Don’t fall for it. “So now there is no condemnation [shame] for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). The feeling of shame will knock on the door of your heart, but you can answer by meditating on the blood of Jesus that saved you, cleansed you, and set your feet on a solid place.
No matter what you’ve done, there is forgiveness in Christ. YOU my friend, are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).