Have you ever heard that little voice in your head saying, “There must be something wrong with me”? It usually speaks to us after a mistake, a sin, or a rejection from someone. It’s the lying voice of the enemy, of course, but it sounds a whole lot like our own. John 8:44c says about Satan, “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
That thought, that voice, that accusation is the spirit of shame. It’s not the same as being ashamed of something I did. This is different because this is about who I am. This kind of shame is a gnawing feeling, deep down that says, “I am defective.”
It’s very closely related to condemnation. Condemnation whispers to us that because of what we did, we are messed up in the core of who we are. When we sin, the Holy Spirit points out to us that we didn’t live like who we are in Christ. On the other hand, condemnation is relentless in trying to convince us that our identity is fatally flawed. It leads us away from the truth of our identity in Christ to an identity defined by failure. If we listen to it long enough, it will eventually tell us that we are probably not a Christian at all!
That is why we all love Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s fascinating that this verse follows a chapter in which the Apostle Paul shared with us how much sin defeated him, even though he hated doing it every single time! Now that’s encouraging.
We are not under condemnation because God crucified our shame-based identity in Adam which genuinely was defective and messed up. Then He buried it in the grave forever with Jesus according to Romans 6:6. Knowing this that our old self was crucified that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Then He resurrected us as new creations, with a grace-based identity in Christ. God says we are now perfect according to Hebrews 10:14. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
No way does this mean we will live sinless lives. It does mean that our sin, mistakes, upbringing, abuse, or anything else cannot define us.
- Do you operate from a shame-based identity because of your past?
- Do you operate from a shame-based identity because of your family?
- Do you operate from a shame-based identity because of that sin you can’t stop doing?
- Do you operate from a shame-based identity because you are divorced?
- Do you operate from a shame-based identity because (you fill in the blank)?
God has crucified your shame-based identity and exchanged it for a grace-based identity in Christ. Galatians 2:20 speaks to this, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Why don’t you pray right now and tell God that you are choosing to believe that your shame-based identity died on the cross with Jesus and you are now embracing your grace-based identity. Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
Life is way too short to live under the oppression of shame. Click on a button below to learn more about personal counseling or attend our life-transforming Grace Life Conference.
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