The Lord has been working on me to let go of my shame, and leave it at the Cross. In my Bible study I was led to a chapter in Ezekiel. Even when we aren’t faithful, the Lord is always faithful. The Lord made an everlasting covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17). Even though the Israelites weren’t always faithful, the Lord remained faithful to them.
The Book of Ezekiel powerfully depicts the grandeur and glory of God’s sovereign rule and His holiness, which He jealously safeguards. By defiling her worship, Israel had rendered herself unclean and had defiled the temple, city and land. From such defilement God could only withdraw and judge His people with national destruction.
But God’s faithfulness to His covenant and His desire to save were so great that He would revive His people once more, shepherd them with compassion, cleanse them of all their defilement, reconstitute them as a perfect expression of His kingdom, overwhelm all the forces and powers arrayed against them, display His glory among the nations and restore the glory of His presence to the holy city. God is free to judge, and He is equally free to be gracious. His stern judgments on Israel ultimately reflect His grace. He allowed the total dismemberment of Israel’s political and religious life, during her captivity in Babylon so that her renewed life and His presence with her will be clearly seen as a gift from the Lord of the universe. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.” (Eze. 36-25-29a, 36)
The Israelites had done many things against the Lord that shamed them, and led to God’s withdrawal of His blessings. Yet He desired a relationship with His people. So in His grace and mercy, He cleansed them of their impurities, removed their hardened hearts and replaced them with tender hearts, and gave them a new spirit. Through our acceptance of His son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, He has done the same for us. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9)
Rather than treating us as our sins deserve, God removes our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). God cleanses, and then He moves on. He does not hold our sins over us. Instead, He frees us from the slavery of sin and sets us free to experience a new life. Knowing the complete forgiveness of God in Christ, we can join King Hezekiah in praising our Redeemer: “You have put all my sins behind your back” (Isaiah 38:17). Like Paul, we can forget what is behind and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Because He forgives us, we need to let go of our shame. The enemy wages his battle for shame in our minds, knowing that our shame will keep us at a distance from the Lord. Our emotions are directly linked to our thought patterns; if we feel ashamed, we need to look at our thoughts: are they “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and praiseworthy”? Or are they burdened with guilt, shame and regret? Shame and guilt aren’t God’s intention for our lives. They point us to Christ, who came to remove our shame. If we have repented of anything that would separate us from God, we need to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. We need to replace these thoughts of shame with the truth of who we are in Jesus:
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)
- “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)
- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)
- “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26)
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV) and Bible Gateway
- Why Shame Is Not Your Identity