There is alot of shame in our world – it is that uncomfortable feeling of being singled out or humiliated, a lack of confidence or assurance, a fear of retribution. Despite life’s hurdles, we can live unashamed and confident of the testimony we have in Christ. It won’t always be easy, but we have the word of God to help us discern what is true, and to encourage us to stay strong in faith. So how can we live unashamed?
1. Know Who
Shame pierces so deeply because it targets our identity. Shame tells us we are not worthy, not talented, not good, not loved, not liked. In contrast, God gives an unshakable identity, one that does not depend on what we do or say, but is already determined simply because we are who He made us to be – created in the image of God, and loved by Him. Our work is not our identity, the people we hang out with are not our identity, our sexuality is not our identity. Identity is so much deeper than feeling part of a social group, or relating to certain things. I believe God created us all individually and lovingly, male or female, in His image, to do the things He has called us to do, to be part of Him. To be part of Him, to be loved by Him – this is identity.
[Galatians 2:20] – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
2. Know Truth
[Romans 1:16-17] says,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
We have a confidence in faith that overrides shame. Shame does not know what is right, but faith knows the truth, and the truth is found in the gospel. Romans describes the gospel as the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”. We are guaranteed salvation – freedom from death, from pain, from suffering, from hopelessness. We are guaranteed salvation through believing in the gospel of Christ – that He died for our sins, and rose again from the grave to cover every transgression. Christ has already covered all our shame if we would accept His gift. We have nothing to earn, but everything to receive. We can trust in Christ, and trust His word and direction are true. We can live unashamed when we live in the faith of knowing Christ has already paid it all.
3. Know Perseverance
Tough times will come. Persecution will come. We will feel stressed, worried, anxious, afraid. However, we will always have a choice to succumb to these feelings, or proclaim our identity, proclaim the truth we know in Christ. When we do this time and time again, we know perseverance.
[2 Timothy 1:8] – “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
At the time of writing this to Timothy, Paul was in prison because of the gospel. A number of other people had abandoned him, not wanting to be associated in this time of persecution. We will suffer for the gospel, but we are already saved in Christ. We have a calling and a purpose that does not depend on what happens on earth, but is wrapped up in God Himself. We live unashamed when we know our purpose is found in God and choose to persevere in living for Him.
Identity – Truth – Perseverance – Christ. We have a hope and a peace that transcends understanding, a God who is good and who loves us unconditionally, who demonstrated this to us at the cross. We have a God whose word is true, and whose authority supersedes every other authority, a God who is for us, who is already victorious, whose word is powerful and speaks identity, truth and perseverance into us. We have a God we can be unashamed of, a God who has already covered all our shame.