This brief series of posts is connected to my favorite message moments from this year’s gathering. I might have missed your favorite, but these are the pieces still pinball-ing around my heart. Glory to God for His mercy and kindness in meeting us for those special days!
Part Four – Christine Caine [Text: Genesis 2:25-3:14]
“And the man and his wife were both naked and unashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)
“We were not meant to know or carry shame.” (Christine Caine)
Be Holy and Come Out of Hiding
“Shame wants to separate you from what you already have in God. The Enemy wants us to sin so we will feel shame and hide from God.” (Christine Caine)
“Christians—stop hiding—be the salt and light!” (Christine Caine)
Shame not only limits your personal joy, it asserts that you have no right to speak the Gospel. And it convinces you to spend so much energy on hiding that sharing the Gospel falls to the bottom on your list of priorities.
“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come…” (Luke 17:1) He knows that even in our new-self salvation—we still sin. Hopefully we sin only after strongly resisting the Enemy; after looking for the way of escape. But it’s true that on this side of eternity, sin remains a part of our lives.
Do not let your imperfection become a reason for hiding from those who need Jesus. Announcing the Gospel over a cup of coffee with your friend—even though you struggle with sin–is not hypocritical.
If you have a healthy process for reacting to your own sin—humble repentance followed by recovered confidence in the grace of God—you are doing it right. Do not judge yourself on the standard of perfection—aim for living blamelessly. Blamelessness results from not allowing guiltiness to stick to your life. If you step in dog droppings, you quickly clean them off. Blameless people do the same with sin.
Hypocrites flirt with and engage sin without regard for its offensiveness to God or destructiveness to the soul. Hypocrites speak about the evils of sin while they enable it to make a comfy home in their heart.
When you sin–recognize it, confess it, reject it, and get back up off of the ground. Walk in the truth of your purchased forgiveness, then share the Gospel whenever you can. The Enemy will whisper that you can’t talk about Jesus because you still sin. But he is a liar.
It’s interesting that the Enemy can get us to care about being viewed as a hypocrite. Perhaps we assist him in this because we want to avoid rejection. But above that, think about the fear of looking like a hypocrite—the whole thing is based on pride, on how you look. Isn’t pride the devil’s playground?
“God asks, ‘Where are you?’ The first conversation between God and man was about fear, shame, and hiding.” (Christine Caine)
Share the Gospel—including how it applies to your life of daily struggle. You can even talk about how you still sin, but also rest in the grace of God. Your righteousness has never been about your behavior—it has always been about the kindness of God in the saving work of Jesus.
Love your friends and neighbors and classmates and coworkers. Tell them how they can come out of hiding; how they can know Jesus. Tell them how they can be adopted, clean, forgiven, and free.
And be holy. Resist sin in every form, minimizing opportunities for shame to pounce on your defeated spirit. Be holy because you believe it is the superior life—honoring God with your mind and body, your choices and affections.
Come Out of Hiding and Live Free
“Some are heaven-bound, but going to heaven in chains and shackles.” (Christine Caine)
This statement pierces many of us, striking a far too personal chord. Some cannot enjoy Christian community because they keep people at arm’s-length. They are convinced they are unworthy, certain that if people get to know them, they will reject them. Some cannot enjoy the gift of married sex because of shame hanging around from teenage choices or habits. Shame has them in chains and shackles. Some hold a twisted theology imagining an angry God who must be kept happy by strict religious behavior. Fear and religious duty have them in chains and shackles.
Be holy, but live free. Live under grace, not law. Live in the liberty that comes from knowing your past is covered and clean. Jesus gave Himself as your atoning sacrifice. You put faith in what He accomplished on the Cross and in His resurrection. You ARE a saint—made holy by His blood. You ARE righteous by the King’s decree. Enjoy the world God has put before you. Love, laugh, taste, delight, know and be known.
Do not let momentary stumbles lead to a skewed sense of identity. When you sin, do not hide. In the Garden, God sacrificed an animal, to make coverings for the man and woman. Through Jesus, your soul is covered. It is God’s kind provision.
“God asks, ‘Who told you that you should be ashamed?’ We must replace the lies with the Truth.” (Christine Caine)