Overcoming Shame & Condemnation
Shame and condemnation are confidence killers, yet we allow them to rob us of the joy and peace that belong to us in Christ.
Like a thief in the night, this tag team steals away our confidence on a daily basis with insidious little seeds of wrong thinking that, if nurtured, can produce the fruits of weakened faith, half-hearted joy, and fleeting moments of peace rather than the FULL MEASURE of what Christ died for us to have. As believers, it is very important – I might even say critical – that we learn the difference between the voice of conviction and the voice of condemnation. When the Holy Spirit convicts a born again child of God of sin, it is from a position of love, and it leads to a place of repentance and restoration. When the devil (called the accuser of the brethren) attempts to condemn a born again child of God on the basis of sin, it is from a position of hate, and it leads to a place of hiding that is covered with shame. When a believer listens to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the door to his or her heart is wide open, and God can lovingly come in to wash that heart and conscience clean, but when the accuser is given place to speak, the heart is closed, and the door shut tight with a sign hanging outside that says, “Do Not Enter – Unworthy.”
Confidence is very much connected to value, and when you allow yourself to think thoughts about being unworthy, unimportant, and insignificant, your confidence will begin to deflate like a balloon losing air. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me quite often. That inner critic begins to speak to me about how what I’m doing doesn’t really matter, how I’m not measuring up to some self-imposed standard, how I’m not enough in some area or another (not enough faith, not enough smarts, not enough compassion, not enough of a woman, not enough of a mother, not enough _____ just fill in the blank). So how do you combat those thoughts? What determines value? Value is determined by the price that someone is willing to pay for something…or someone. Jesus paid the highest price imaginable FOR YOU! He doesn’t just believe you are worth it, but His actions demonstrated that belief! You are worthy. You are significant. You are important. You are very, very valuable to God.
Confidence is very much connected to identity. Knowing who you are is as vital to the human spirit as air is to the lungs. Without a firm grip on your identity, you suffocate in a sea of question marks, an exposed stump occupying the space where your confidence was supposed to be flourishing. So how do you discover who you are? If you have placed your faith in Christ, and are born of His spirit, the word of God can help you answer that question. According to Romans 5, our identity has everything to do with our location. We are IN CHRIST. According to 1 John 4:17, all that HE is I AM. In other words, I am not righteous, or holy, or accepted, or loved, on the basis of my behavior. I am righteous, holy, accepted, loved, strong, blessed, wise, an heir to God’s riches, and the very son or daughter of GOD – because I am IN CHRIST. Doesn’t hearing that just begin to minister life to you already!? Isn’t your confidence growing with every affirmation of who you are in Christ? The best part is, even when you make mistakes, it does not affect who you are!!!! Your identity is not found in your behavior, or in some label that was placed on you, or in your perfect performance. Who you are is defined not by what you do or don’t do, but by what Christ has already done!
Confidence is very much connected to a sense of purpose. Where you find a person who doesn’t have any sense of purpose for living their life, you will also find a person with very little confidence. The good news for every person is that God creates with purpose in mind:
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” ~Ephesians 2:10~
God created you. You are His masterpiece, His work of art. He planned you. He prepared your path ahead of time. He prearranged and made ready a good life full of good works – just for you! You are no mistake. You are not a result of chance. You were not created without purpose! The next time that voice in your head says that you don’t matter, that you are not important, that nobody would notice whether you live or die, GO TO THE WORD! Begin to say what God says – there is a plan for you, honey! The more you look into Who Jesus is, the more you will begin to see who you are, and why you are here.
You Were not Made for Shame and Condemnation
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” ~ Romans 8:1a
Learn to listen to the right voice, and to respond the right way. Repent when the Holy Spirit convicts you, and let the love of God lift you up, dust you off, and cheer you on. Resist when the accuser condemns you, and remain confident in who you are, what you’re worth, and why you are here. I can feel your faith, your joy and your peace rising already! If this blessed you, pass on the love and share it with a friend!