When the Holy Spirit brings things to our minds, it is not to shame us, but instead to bring us conviction to repent. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to our sin and opens our hearts to receive His grace. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)
Shame is brought on by the Enemy for a sin that we have already been forgiven of, and convinces us that we didn’t deserve that forgiveness and there is still a price to pay. We have to make up for it, we aren’t good enough to be forgiven yet. I don’t know about you, but I have failed many, many times. Even though I have repented of my sin when I have failed, when I am weak the great accuser (Rev 12:10) brings those instances back to my mind: things I have done and said so that I hang my head in shame. That’s the key: Do we hang our heads in shame, or do we bow our heads in humility, ask for God’s grace, and turn back to God?
Peter, the rock on whom Jesus built His church (Matt 16:18), failed. In fear, He denied knowing Jesus three times just as Jesus told him he would (Luke 22:54-62). Peter didn’t own up to his frailty, and he failed. But Jesus told him about His grace before Peter failed. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32) The Lord used Peter’s mess to strengthen his brothers and to equip him for his ministry.
God uses our failures for His purposes. He knows when we turn back to Him, our perspective will be purer. When our eyes and hearts turn back to Him, convicted that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5), He equips us for the work He has planned for us (Eph 2:10). God didn’t turn His back on Peter, in fact He pursued him, and singled him out because He loved him. “But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” (Mark 16:7) If we continue to seek Him, He will draw near us and lead us where He wants us to go, to do what He wants us to do.
If you are being reminded of past failures and you are feeling shame, know it’s the enemy shooting his fiery darts at your mind to cause you to feel defeated. Instead of giving in to Satan, stand firm in God’s truth: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1-4)
As you stand in that truth, know that Christ has made us complete in Him because of WHO He is and what He has done. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority” (Col 2:9-10). Because He is over ALL (there’s nothing He isn’t over), and He lives in us, we have victory over everything that Satan can throw at us. We need only to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph 6:10-11) Our strength comes only from Christ, “who also intercedes for us” (Rom 8:34).
One of the strongest ways that the Lord can use us for His glory, is to testify about the grace we have received in our failures and how He turned our lives around. Whatever we have done, we all have stories that testify to what God has done in and through us. Conversely, secrets give Satan power over us to live in shame. But the truth of God brings us out of the darkness into His light. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:9) When we share “the word of [our] testimony” (Rev 12:11), God is glorified.
Part of the Series: The Authority of Christ (links will be added when they are published, and more may be added to the list as God leads)
- Authority Over Corruption in the World
- Recognize Your Enemy
- Stand Firm in the Authority of Christ
- We Battle From Higher Ground
- Be Strong in the Lord and His Mighty Power
- Put On The Belt of Truth
- Put On The Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shod Your Feet With the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
- Take Up the Shield of Faith
- Take the Helmet of Salvation
- Take the Sword of the Spirit
- Pray At All Times in the Spirit
- Strength Comes From Surrendering
- Overcoming Past Failures