The Apostle Paul made this wonderful statement to the church in Corinth, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God through us.” The promises that God speaks into and over our lives are unshakable, they will not disappoint and they can not fade away unfulfilled. I believe that God speaks these promises into our lives to comfort us, to bless us and to strengthen us. I also believe that one of the keys to combating the lies of the enemy and the desires of our flesh is to simply believe that all of God’s promises for our lives will come true.
This past week one of my dear friends called to share some Scripture with me. I had asked him to pray for me as I was preparing for a situation that I was a bit nervous about. I was asked to take part in something this week that was completely out of my comfort zone. It was something I had never done before and I was unsure as to whether or not I was equipped to be useful. The Scripture that was shared was Isaiah 54, “Enlarge the place of your tent, . . .Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed”. In the midst of hearing those verses I realized that God has promised that we will not be humiliated, we won’t be put to shame. It’s funny, in the moment that I heard those verses, and received this as a promise I realized that I have often allowed myself to be slowed by a fear of shame.
Shame is one of the most powerful of Satan’s lies. It is never from God, it is a tool of Hell that is used to paralyze us in hopes of keeping us from our called purpose. When Adam and Eve sinned the first respondents of Hell were shame and fear. They were ashamed and covered themselves, they were afraid and hid from God. It is interesting to see that the first things that man feels when they sin are things that are not of God. We have the promise “God has not given us a spirit of fear” and again, in Isaiah 54 we are promised that “we will not be put to shame.” The importance of this point is that whenever we are gripped by fear or attacked by shame it is not God that is working. In any instant that you suddenly are fearful that the path that God is leading you on might lead to humiliation you can be confident that it is not the Spirit of God that is speaking. He does not lead by guilt, by fear or by shame, God always leads in faith by love.
The leading of the Holy Spirit requires faith, it requires trust and it provides comfort and peace. The Holy Spirit leads us in some paths that we would have never chosen, He leads us in some paths that seem out of place, He leads in some paths that don’t match up with our planning and understanding. Along the journey of faith there are times in which we can’t see our next step, anticipate the next opportunity or plan for our next obstacle. God told Abraham to go to a land that He would show him. He told Moses to stand with the Red Sea in front of him and the Egyptian army behind him. He told Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho. He told Ezekiel to speak to the dry bones that surrounded him. He told Peter to journey to a gentiles house. He told Ananias to baptize Saul the persecutor and He told Paul to appeal to Caesar. In all of these instances the people listening to God’s voice had the option to ask, “what if it doesn’t work?” I am confident that each one of them faced the complaints of the flesh, the counsel of “Job’s friends” and the lies of fear and shame. They all had the opportunity to be so afraid of being humiliated that they did nothing and yet, they all chose to believe God’s promise, to trust His kindness and to allow perfect love to cast out all fear, even the fear of shame.
There are things that God has spoken in and over my life that have not come to pass yet. Every day I wake up closer to those promises than I have ever been before. I will be honest though, many days I wake up to find fear and shame working with all of their might to convince me that my hope is in vain and my beliefs will bring me shame. We are all the same. We are all subject to the same temptation, the same enemy and the same tactics. I want to encourage you today as I encourage myself, we have been promised, we will not be put to shame. As much as we believe the promise of forgiveness, the promise of heaven, the promise of God’s love let us believe the promise of protection from shame.
I needed this promise this week. This was a week of many emotions. We found ourselves praying for some specific, life changing requests this week. We all pray for the will of God, but lets be honest, most of us pray with an end in mind. We have a thought of what we want to see happen, of how we believe God can be most glorified. This was a week in which we saw a newborn baby live 53 minutes before she returned to Jesus’ arms. That was not what I wanted to happen as I prayed for her and yet her parents report an unthinkable measure of peace. On the same day that this child passed away I watched as two families, torn apart by death and shame took miraculous steps of healing, embracing one another where in the past they had been accusing each other. This week I received the report of a woman that we have prayed for for months being cancer free and a man that was gripped by suicidal depression being completely restored, renewed and filled with joy. You see, we have an enemy, and Peter told us the truth about him, he does roam around looking to see who he can devour. He devours us with his lies. If he can get us to believe that God is not good, that God does not listen, that God does not care then he can fill us with shame and he can control us with fear. The key is not understanding everything that happens around us, the key is believing that we will never be put to shame. We will never by led by the Spirit of God to destruction. I would encourage you today, if your week was anything like mine, don’t sit and listen to the voice of shame, rise up and listen to the song of deliverance. Shame says you were wrong, deliverance says that God is good.
I want to finish by taking us back to the Garden of Eden one more time. When Adam and Even sinned, fear and shame came in full force to try to bring a final destruction. If fear and shame were the first respondents of hell then go back and look closely, God was the first respondent of heaven. He didn’t send an angel, a virtue or even a promise, He came and sought out Adam and Eve. He came to them and did some amazing things. First, he cursed the one who had led His children into temptation. Second, God promised that He would provide redemption. Before He doled out punishment or concerned Himself with details He made a promise that He would make a way for healing. Third, He didn’t leave them in the dark, worried and afraid of unknown punishment, He clearly shared the consequences of their sin. And finally, He covered their shame. He clothed them because it is never God’s desire for His children to live in fear or in shame. The Bible says that we were created for His pleasure and I believe that God delights when His children know that they can confidently trust their Father, that He will love them, protect them and never put them to shame.