For some reason, we think our shame too great a burden to carry for Christ, because we have found it too great a burden to carry. But Christ tells us “Why do you carry it? Why do you ask Me to carry it? Have I not taken it when I died for you?” And in that response, we realize that our shame is not anyone’s to carry, for it is meant to be put to death along with our sin. Beloved, you are not this mistake, for you are more than conquerers in Christ; He broke those chains, so why do you hold onto something that cannot hold you? Reach for Christ, those are the arms that can sustain you and renew you, those are the arms that will never reject you.
I looked across the expanse of my shame, the ocean of disobedience; Christ took my hands and said “This is not for you to see, look to Me.” and I did, and I was made new.
But when the Bible speaks of love, it measures it primarily not by how much you want to receive but how much you are willing to give of yourself to someone.
When my daughter was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I had intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.
Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less of my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.
God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. “Spit out the dirt, honey,” our Father urges. “I’ve got something better for you.” And so he cleanses us of filth; immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don’t enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. “I can eat dirt if I want to!” we pout and proclaim. Which is true—we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer.
Do not ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.
People are always saying it’s the other person’s fault, the other one who needs to change. That is why I believe no amount of counseling will have an impact until God’s people resolve something. We all have to make this our sincere, daily prayer: ‘O God, change me.’ We spend far too much time praying, ‘God, change my circumstances; change my coworkers; change my family situation; change the conditions in my life.’ Yet we seldom pray this most important prayer: ‘Change me, Lord. The real trouble isn’t my spouse, my sibling, my friend. I’m the one who stands in need of prayer.’
May God bless the man who says less and does more.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire. I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
Knowing my hands, they’ll shake like crazy. Some just pray like that.