Posts Tagged ‘shame’

Advancing Kingdom Life

Evangelism is the Kingdom of God advanced through our lives!

The Apostle James said, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works’. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Jms 2:17-18)

If we only proclaim the Gospel with our lips and not our lives, we are hypocrites and our faith is dead… ineffective. This is why it is so important for Christians to continually live with a vision for Kingdom Advancement. When we daily experience God’s Glory in our lives we begin to be revived and transformed from the inside out. The freedom of having a Kingdom mindset will enable us to joyfully speak of God to those within our sphere of influence. We will end the argument that aims to get people to agree with us and begin to impact the world with a flow of life.

Fear Factor:

The Devil uses intimidation to discourage us from telling our story. I often hear people say, “How can I tell anyone about Jesus when I’m not gifted at evangelism?” At that moment we must stop and apply the Truth of the Gospel to our own soul. The Apostle Paul didn’t hang his head in shame when he was reminded of his own unique history and personal limitations. He spoke to his own soul about the nature of his relationship with Christ. His confidence before kings came from knowing that fruitfulness flowed from his intimacy with God, not his personal eloquence or human wisdom (1 Cor 2:1-5).

No Condemnation… not even a little bit!

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). When clumsiness, unworthiness or shame overwhelm our soul we must preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to ourselves. Speak boldly; ”I am in Christ and He has made me righteous by faith in His blood! I take hold of His forgiveness and He washes away all sin and breaks every stronghold. His power works in me and is mine at this very moment. I’m God’s adopted Son! It is Christ who lives in me and I have inherited His boldness, because I carry His Spirit.”

Make the Grace Connection: (Eph 2:8-10)

Remind yourself, its not about “you”. I often pray over myself, under my breath or speak His Name out loud while I am driving. This is my way of staying in the flow of heaven’s resource… Glory (Phil 4:19). I am believing and receiving His grace spontaneously in those moments. It may sound silly, but I believe in laying my hand upon my own head and speaking a blessing over myself or asking God to anoint my head with fresh oil. I desire the overflow of God’s Presence to be seen upon my life, even before I speak a word.

The Holy Spirit:

This discipline has the power to radically change my focus, because it puts the weight of pressure back upon the Holy Spirit. He is My Helper, the Voice of Conviction and Discerner of the Heart. He clothes me in the Father’s Glory. Its the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us that makes us witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). He is the Spirit of Grace and Truth, but He is also the boldness we need to testify. Welcoming the Holy Spirit’s leadership is essential to any success in the Kingdom, especially evangelism.

Go into the World:

Go for it and proclaim the Kingdom Message to others… remember that someone had to tell you while you were still in the world. That same Kingdom reality that has changed you, has the power to save, deliver and set all men free from sin and intimidation. Speaking the Truth to ourselves; that is our ”soulish man”, sets our perceptions on the love of Christ and releases the anointing for breakthrough in others. Jesus is our source of life, not our eloquence or ability to formulate an argument (1 Cor 1:30). It is Christ in you that reflects God’s Glory (Col 1:27) and it is by His power activated and flowing, that you become effective in destroying the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8).

Jesus is our model: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38).

Clothed in Glory

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.

Spiritual Death:

We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)

Spiritual Life:

Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly.  ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He  tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus. 

“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

The Gospel of Restored Glory:

This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

Where Fear Began

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

The first thing we learn from this verse is that fear is a spirit… an atmosphere that is personified. This means a being with a spirit is occupying some space in our thoughts and imagination that is not from God. In other words, its a demonic stronghold… a house of thoughts ruled by a demonic spirit. We understand that this spirit is not from God, because of two realities. First, has to do with what God has given every believer… “power, love and soundness of mind, or peace. These are the greatest platforms to build a spiritual identity! Now the second reality is that what God gives has authority or dominion over fear… power dissolves fear, love casts out fear and soundness of mind breaks the power of fear. Well… that means there is just no place for the devil to hide in the believer’s identity, unless that believer allows squatters. The true believer can be clothed in the Glory of God!

Let Me Explain:

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering… as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven… a fearless place full of worship and love. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. Even the term “cool of the day” is ruach in the Hebrew language and means spirit or glory. This means they walked together daily in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a heavenly covering) and God’s Honor (heaven’s atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing. They were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish? Yet an opening of their eyes also left an opening of the door to a spirit of fear.

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear and torment.

But – God has Restored the Glory!

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6) NO MORE FEAR!

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us (or restore to us) all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32) HE HAS DELIVERED US!

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:17-19) LOVE HAS CONQUERED FEAR!

If Only

This is what the Lord says- Your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isa. 48:17-18)

“If Only… you had paid attention to My Commands!”

These words echo in the heart of those who live with regrets. We have all found ourselves off track to some degree… with strange perceptions, bad choices and wasted opportunities. Many times in our self-absorbed lifestyles, we think that we are doing the right thing or going in the right direction only to find out that we have been wrong. We hit the wall or reach the end of the rope and cannot find our way out. Some have so damaged their future that recovery would require a miracle. Life is not something we should guess at or rush into, but problems are often the high price we pay for trying to please everyone around us. Perhaps you have felt the shame and embarrassment that follows these words… “if only I had paid attention” to God.

Losing Peace:

God has given us all that we need for life and godliness in His Word and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:2-4). He knows what is best for us and He desires to teach us those things, because He loves us. Unfortunately we sometimes refuse what God teaches us and insist on doing our own thing. When we do this, we eventually find that we have lost our peace and our life gets full of unnecessary problems and difficulties.

God is Gracious:

God will not leave us in our confusion if we are willing to return and recover what has been lost. His arms are always open for us and He is always waiting for our return. Although we hear within our soulish man, “If only you had listened”, God does not leave us in defeat if we will come to Him in faith. We often beat ourselves up with the “if only’s”. If only we had not done this or if only we had done that instead. But in spite of what we have done, there is hope in God!

God holds out a wealth of righteousness… His Mercy, invites us into a fresh peace that flows like a river and washes over us like the waves of the sea.

Shifting the Focus:

We cannot change the past, but we can shift the focus and live beyond the regrets of the past. Jesus tells us, “YOU ARE FORGIVEN!”. This changes everything inside of us, when we know we are free of the past, free of the guilt and free of the entanglements. The chains that have held us fall lifelessly to the floor, so we can begin anew. We can begin today with the right choices and listen to God’s instructions for Kingdom life. We can begin now with fresh perspective and limitless possibilities. In return God will cause us to walk in the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).

Life to the Fullest:

Have you gotten off track and done your own thing only to find that you have lost your peace and brought unnecessary problems into your life? Take ownership of your future and shift the focus… living beyond your regrets is a matter of choosing who gets to speak into your heart. God’s invitation is not to control you, but to free you to enjoy life to the fullest.

The key is to hear His heart: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you.”

Desperation

“Then they came to Jericho. And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Mark 10:46-47)

Bartimaeus was a desperate, blind, beggar in Jericho. He could not see on many levels. Everyday he went to the same location and sat on the same corner begging and calling out to the same people, hoping for someone to give him something. No doubt everyone knew him. He had a reputation. He was called “Blind Bartimaeus”.

Desperation & Hearing:

Now it happened on a certain day that a large crowd entered Jericho. Blind Bartimaeus could hear it, a commotion along the road and excitement in the air, there was a spiritual shift in the atmosphere. It was Jesus passing through town… and the road was going to bring him right by where he sat. He had heard about Jesus. The stories of people being healed. Lame men walking. Deaf ears hearing. Mouths that never knew how to talk, speaking the praises of God. Lepers made clean. And He was passing this way!

Desperation & Hope:

I believe it was at that moment that hope arose in the heart of Bartimaeus. He was quick to make up his mind that He was not going to let Jesus pass without touching him. Hope is like that, its the platform for which faith is birthed (Heb. 11:1). The desperate move quickly, because they have an unusual sensitivity to hope. In a desperate cry this blind, beggar began to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Desperation & Our Voice:

Blindness is no reason for shame. He was not ashamed. Desperate people will do desperate things, but only if shame is dealt with first. Shame silences the desperate, but hope opens the mouth! Hear the words of Bartimaeus, “Have mercy on me” and then ask yourself - how often is this your plea? Nothing was going to stop him from getting the Lord’s attention. How often are we too ashamed to speak up? Jesus was passing through and there was no way that Bartimaeus was going to let Him pass without making his need known.

Those who are truly desperate find their voice!

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