We love Jesus… so why are we still dealing with these issues? In this series, we address how the gospel frees us from the shame associated with our daily sins and struggles, and then helps us overcome them.
By Randi Peck
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to the world’s standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
“I will never allow my teenagers to act that way.”
“My husband would never cheat on me.”
“I could never let myself go.”
Have you ever heard statements such as these? Have you ever made statements such as these?
Let’s be real—we all have, in some way, shape, or form.
But something happens as you get older. At least for someone like me, who had quite the charmed upbringing, with quite the idealistic (idol-istic) outlook on life… Your weakness starts to come out. Your sin makes itself known. And suffering knocks the wind out of you.
The ones you love start to go through the very things that once felt far away. And you, too, struggle and fail in ways you never could have imagined.
My emotions, for example—I never thought they would be so unstable. I have been walking through a long season of not knowing which mind I will wake up to. Sometimes, I wake up, my gut churning with anxiety and panic. Other days, I wake up heavy with doubt and despair. And many days, I am grateful to wake up to peace and joy.
Now, I intentionally describe my struggle with emotions as the way I feel when I wake up, because I know that no matter what I’m feeling, I have a choice every day to choose truth. (That’s another blog for another day)
But I no longer assume clarity and positivity as my “default setting”.
There are many routines and steps that I can take to stabilize my moods… Running, eating healthier, getting outside. There are many “musts” for bringing my heart and mind back to the gospel hope… Praying, devouring the Word, worshipping.
But at the end of the day, I confess that sometimes there is nothing in my power to turn my emotions around. I simply have to cry. And wait on God to deliver me.
This has and can cause a lot of shame, for me.
I am a follower of Jesus. Shouldn’t my life be marked by joy and peace? I should have the power to overcome my unruly feelings. To walk by faith and plow through the “down days”.
Even writing this blog… I kept putting it off. Hoping I would feel better, get some answers. I can’t just present a struggle without a solution, can I?
But this is where Jesus meets me. In my shame. In my utter helplessness. And he reminds me that I CAN DO NOTHING. That if a counselor or a list of Bible verses or the right prayer could heal me, then I would be in control of my mental health. Then I would be god. But I’m not.
And this could be devastating news—because I am so very weak. BUT my inability to control things is not devastating when I recall who God is. That GOD IS GOD is good news. Because he is not just our God, he is our Father. And he is so very able to keep us, to redeem our pain, and to shine through our weakness.
So can I preach to US? Let go. Let go of the life you thought you’d live. The person you thought you’d be. The shame of how you have struggled, and the fear of how you will struggle.
Let go, and find that he’s been holding you. Find that his hands are good. Pierced. Powerful. And Gentle.
When we acknowledge our depravity and our powerlessness, then we can cling to his all-sufficiency. Only his perfect love casts out the fear of the reality that we are not above ANYthing.
The world doesn’t need to hear our five-step success story. They definitely don’t need to hear how awesome we are. They need to hear how faithful God is. They need to discover how good He is.
That even though we are weak, he has saved us. Even though we are prone to wander, he holds us tighter. Even though we are not above divorce or bursts of anger or addiction—God is above us.
So comfort the world with the gospel, as Christ comforts you.
Make him your boast as you fall into his hands today.
“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
1 Cor 1:30-31