July 31, 2022
Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:45-46 TPT; 1 Corinthians 13:9,12 NLT; 2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT; Habakkuk 1:13 NIV; 1 Peter 2:24 TPT; 1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT; Ephesians 3:2o TPT; Luke 22:41-42 TPT; Ephesians 5:15-17 TPT;
- Satan cannot change the character of God, and he can not conquer the Word of God, so he attacks our ability to walk out the purpose of God.
- When we know His forgiveness, we are more open to repentance.
- Jesus, fully man, proved to us that we in our humanity can choose to do the tough things.
- Our circumstances do not govern our responses, the Word of God does.
- God removed His presence from Adam, and Jesus had to feel the same despair to fully understand how shame would make us feel.
- We don’t serve God for His presence, we obey God because of the supremacy of His Word.
- God is holy and will not tolerate sin.
- God is just and will judge sin where it is found.
- God is love and devised a way that justice would be satisfied and forgiveness made available.
- When we are taking on shame, and He seems very far away, we trust His Word, His Promises, and His Forgiveness.
Let’s Talk: Several years ago, I went on a clean eating diet with my wife. Not long after we started, my wife found out she was pregnant with our daughter, and the doctor told her to stop the diet because she wasn’t gaining enough weight. I thought I would just continue my diet, while we increased her calories so we could have a healthy baby. I would love to say I stayed with the diet and lost the weight I wanted, but I didn’t. It was amazing how quickly I went back to my old habits of drinking soda and eating junk food. It was comfortable for me. I went back to what was familiar, even though many of those habits were not good for me. Maybe someday I will start that diet again, who knows! You know, I see a big similarity in what I went through in our Christian walk. We love the idea of forgiveness, mercy, and grace. We enjoy the sense of peace that comes in knowing Christ as our savior but if we are not careful, we will fall back into what is comfortable, even though it isn’t spiritually healthy for us. We know we are forgiven, but it’s more comfortable and familiar to live in shame, so we camp there instead. It takes discipline to walk in the things of God, especially when they feel uncomfortable because we are not used to them. We have to resist the temptation to go back to the familiar things of life that kept us from living in His promises, and fulfilling our God given purpose.
- What negative emotions do you tend to resort back to because they are familiar to you?
- What are some ways you can resist those temptations and walk in God’s promises?
- Who is someone you know that has a hard time with God’s love or forgiveness because it’s easier for them to walk in shame and blame?
- How can you encourage them to walk in God’s promises?
Let’s Think: When we submit to blame, shame, and condemnation, we may feel like God’s presence has left us. Often times we will start the blame game and come up with all kind of excuses. We will blame ourselves or even others. We will blame the devil and give him way too much credit, or we will even blame God. Even though we may go through tough times like these, we can still do the right thing because His word is always true. God’s word will lead us out of darkness by exposing the lies that try and trap us in blame, shame, and condemnation. Even when we do not feel God’s presence, His word never changes, and we can use it to combat our feelings of loneliness or emptiness. God knew we would have times of trouble, so He has given us a mighty weapon to help us get to the other side. As difficult as it may be, keep reading His word even if you don’t feel like it.
- Have you ever had times where you didn’t feel the presence of God?
- How did you get through it?
- If you are currently in a time of not feeling God’s presence, who is someone you can reach out to for help?
- What are some scriptures that can encourage you that God is always with you, even though you may not feel it?
Going Deeper: When Jesus went to the cross, He took on our shame so we could be forgiven and live a life fulfilling His purpose for us. Through the cross, Jesus is able to extend His grace towards us, and that grace obliterates our excuses! The longer we distance ourselves from God and His promises, the longer we will live in the excuse of shame, but a grace oriented life rids us of excuses and justifications to go back to the familiar. The key is to trust His Word, His promises, and His forgiveness, even if we do not feel His presence. When we walk if these three things, it safeguards us from falling into the blame and shame game. Shame and promise do not coexist well. Lose the shame, and stick to His promises.
- How does the grace of Jesus obliterate our excuses?
- What excuses do you struggle with that are a result of blame, shame, or condemnation?
- What is one promise of God that will help you walk in purpose?
- How can you model walking in His Word, promises, and forgiveness?
Walk it out: We will often hide things from God because we are afraid He will condemn us, even though His word says there is no condemnation in Christ. Spend some time this week and examine yourself to see if you are holding something back from God. If something is revealed, present it to Him. Often times these things can cause shame in us, so allow Him to remove it, and watch as He draws you closer to Him.