Shame or Confidence

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:28-29)

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19)

What I am starting to perceive is an entire summation of the history of salvation in these passages.

Our first parents believed a lie that God didn't really love them and instantly they became filled with dread of punishment for disobeying His rule. But was it actually true that He came to punish them? Not at all. Yet their mindset, emotions and outlook damaged by lies about Him drove them to be afraid, to feel ashamed and as a consequence they ran away from Him and hid.

We have been following that pattern ever since. We do it in all sorts of ways, but at the very bottom of all our malfunctions and sins are roots of residual lies that our hearts still believe about God's lack of love and care for us. This is what is termed unrighteousness. John fingered this core problem we have when he coupled the idea of knowing that God is righteous with getting rid of our shame.

We feel shame, not because God is upset with us as we feel so sure is the case, but because we still believe that is the case. It is our false perceptions about how God must feel about us that induces all the shame we experience no matter where it comes from. We know this is true because if we really believed that God is good/righteous/love/caring we would not be taken down by any of the falsely based fears that produce our shame.

The cure for shame is not becoming good enough to earn God's respect. The cure for shame and fear is to believe enough that God has never looked on us with condemnation, contempt or any other way that is demeaning. Only as our heart takes hold of the reality that we are unconditionally loved by God, unconditionally forgiven by God and nothing we could ever do can lessen His passionate love for us can we begin to experience being fully alive, what Jesus called an abundant life.

Living an abundant life is not about having everything go well for us or receiving financial blessings above others or avoiding experiencing injustice in this world. Living the abundant life that God has for us is a life sustained and empowered completely from the inside, from the heart that takes hold of the truth about God unequivocal love and care for us. As we lay aside our view of God as the chief rule-enforcer and embrace Him as our loving, tender, caring Father, we can break the chains of fear that the lies of Satan have bound us with all our lives and plunge into the ocean of God's abundance and love for us.

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)


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