Resolved to Relate: Resolution Night

7 11 2016

For those of you who have read the past few posts that I’ve made you will know that in the last few months my youth group had been walking through a series on Relationships.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted as life has been a bit hectic but I wanted to conclude that series with you.  I think for those of you who have ready both the Identity series we walked through early in the summer and then the corresponding Relationship series it’s important to see where all of that was leading.

To be honest, there is so much more that should be and could be shared.  There is so much more of my own story that someday you all will hear.  There are so many other facets of God’s truth that illuminate and lead to these truths.  But to be honest, I’m not willing to wait any longer for those moments to pass before sharing what I believe God is asking us to resolve.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  Let me first tell you what Resolution Night was all about.  For me resolution Night was birthed out of my own Resolve as a teenager to seek after God’s Way in relationships and my own covenant with my parents.

As I have struggled in my own walk to restrict my relationships to God’s Will and timing, one of the things I am the most thankful for is knowing I an not alone.  Knowing that my parents where there in my relationship successes and failures, that my friends would not stay silent but would believe more for me when I was ready to give up and for community beyond those two who continue to stand with me for God’s best.  And it was out of these relationships and the belief that there is something of a sealing that happens when we choose to stand for our resolves that our Resolution night was birthed.

Resolution Night was the culmination of our whole relationships series where youth were invited to make a public declaration of their resolve to do relationships God’s Way.  They weren’t forced and hopefully they didn’t feel coerced.  My goal was not numbers but instead heart.s  Even if only one person stood, I would have rejoiced because they were making a decision that would change their life.  If anything, I did everything I could to make certain they only made a stand if they were ready and willing to live under that resolve.

Students were encouraged to talk with their parents about making the resolve and ask them to stand with them on that night, to partner with them in their resolve.

The resolve was three part: Youth, Parent and Community.  And for me, the night had more of an impact because just as they were making that resolve, I too was resolving with them for the very same thing.

Youth Resolution

As an image bearer of God, I believe that I was made for relationship with both God and others.  I believe that relationships, although God’s design, are not the full purpose of our creation, but instead part of the greater plan.  In these relationships I believe that God’s heart is to cultivate and fulfill the desires of my heart.

As such, I resolve to pursue relationship with God before all others and to relate God’s way.  I resolve to trust and wait for God’s promised spouse and participate in relationships based solely on God’s love.

Specifically, I resolve to:

  1. Be intentional today for the promises of God tomorrow.
    1. Guard my eyes: I will abstain from and avoid any stimulating material of any type.
    2. Confess when I make a mistake and repent of sin.
    3. Seek accountability and walk with integrity.
    4. Allow God to heal and restore all areas of my heart.
  2. Love out of willful purpose not based out of feelings or desires today.
    1. Love in a way that gives others what they need not necessarily what they or myself want, even if this results in rejection.
    2. Pray for my future spouse and will not cultivate any emotional one-on-one relationships before the Lord’s time.
    3. Set boundaries in relationships for the intention of honoring and respecting both me and those I will relate with, today and in the future.
    4. Pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
  3. Explores and seek out who God created me to be.
    1. Accept responsibility for my own purpose.
    2. Accept responsibility to administer the Kingdom of God to the World as God calls for my life.
    3. Accept responsibility to not settle for anything less than a suitable partner for my purpose.
  4.  Reject Passivity.
    1. Be responsible for my own will.
    2. Seek out and stand for the things of God.
    3. Confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
  5. Rely on God.
    1. For strength, wisdom and grace.
    2. To bring to pass all His promises in my life.
    3. To bring His purity from my heart into my thoughts and actions.
    4. Trust those He has placed in authority over me.

As a man of God, made in His image, God created me to honor and protect those made in His image.  As such, I resolve to:

  1. Lead courageously: I am led as directed by God and will not be led by the world or my own desires and fears.
  2. Boldly pursue: I will chase after and take responsibility for my suitable companion, God’s ordained woman.

As a woman of God, made in His image, God created me to honor and protect those made in His image.  As such, I resolve to:

  1. Guard and protect my beauty: I have been given a beauty and a power to influence and inspire those for God’s Kingdom.
  2. Refuse to settle: I am worth being fought and pursued.  I will not settle for anything less than God’s best.
  3. Take responsibility to care for and love God’s ordained man for me and the generations that will come out of our partnership.

Parent Resolution

As the parents entrusted with the responsibility of raising children made in the image of God, we resolve to help raise our children to relate God’s way; to trust and wait for their anointed spouse and participate in relationships based on God’s love.

As such, we resolve to do this by:

  1. Praying: In all matters pray for and into the children God has entrusted to us.  Calling forth through prayer, and the actions that follow, the image of God in our children.
  2. Being present: no matter what happens, we will be there mentally, physically emotionally and spiritually to support, encourage, guard and guide our children.
  3. Loving: regardless of mistakes, we will love with God’s love, not without consequence but full of grace.
  4. Teaching biblical truth:
    1. Through reading, explanation and godly example.
    2. To teach our sons that “they have what it takes,”
    3. And our daughters that they “are enough.”
  5. Creating, instructing and enforcing boundaries: with the express purpose of cultivating healthy and godly relationship.
  6. Fighting against the tactics of the enemy to diminish, destroy, and mar God’s intention and design in our children.

Community Resolution

As the church is not just a building where we gather to worship but instead a community of people “called out” of the world into the Kingdom of God.  As such we resolve to stand together to help this youth and family to relate God’s wait; to trust and wait for their anointed spouse and participate in relationships based on God’s love.

Specifically, we resolve to:

  1. Hold any confession or struggle of a friend in confidence (except when necessary to share with an adult).
  2. Share with an adult any struggle or sin of a friend that needs addressing.  I will first tell my friend before sharing with a leader, to convince them to go with me.  I refuse to yield to “unsanctified mercy” that allows sin to increase in my friend’s life.
  3. Follow through in the process of bringing our friends accountability to see complete healing and restoration.
  4. Help instill and enforce healthy boundaries and practical steps for emotional, physical and spiritual purity.

Our Resolution Night blew me away as 7 of our youth with their parents stood for God, their peers and community and resolved to relate God’s way.  What a powerful night!

Early I said “But I’m not willing to wait for those moments to pass before sharing what I believe God is asking us to resolve.”  And this is true,  I believe that there are those who will read this either in the near future or the years to come who will recognize that God is asking you to make this resolve.

It doesn’t matter your age or your history.  If you have made mistakes before and have not waiting on God’s best for you, it’s okay, you can start today.  If you have waited for so long that you have given up hope, don’t give up but instead trust in the God that loves you in a way that ultimately is fixated on you being made completely whole.

I would like to invite you to resolve to relate God’s way.  Look for parental figures (if not your own parents) to resolve with you.  Give them permission to guide and cover you as God intended.  And then seek out community to love you and hold you accountable.  I’m here.  The body of Christ is here.

Will you believe you were made for more?

Will you trust and wait on God’s best for you?

Sabbath: Trust. Rest. Be. Create.

7 10 2016

This post is a post that I started well over two years ago.  I was exhausted.  I worked full time serving the churches and pastor’s of our district and then I was also the youth pastor at my own church.  If you looked at my planner you would see that I was scheduled from one event to another.  There was not much room for breathing.  But then God spoke and did some amazing things.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That scripture has always been on my heart, for as long as I can remember.  It has been a phrase that has spoken to my heart of who God is.  Probably partially because I’m a bit of an overachiever.  I go, go, go until I can’t go any longer.  I work and work and work for God but when it comes to the sitting, waiting and listening part well… let’s just say I don’t gravitate to that easily.

Sometimes I get so caught up in doing something for God that I lose sight of knowing God.  To know someone you have to spend time with them which is lost when you are go, go go.  The idea of being still to know that He is God spoke something to me that I didn’t realize until the last few days…

When I’m still I don’t just get to know God more but I know that He is God because when I am still, it means He must be working instead of me.  When I am still then it shows His glory not my own.

It all started several months ago as I sat in my review at work and they asked one simple question, “How would you like Monday’s off?”  It was like a breath of fresh air!

I had noticed myself becoming increasingly more tired and run down because most weeks I didn’t really get a day to rest and relax.  Monday through Friday I was working in the office and then on the weekends I was preparing and attending to church and youth group things.  I was exhausted both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I was drained and there were moments where it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to pour out because there was less and less within.

Well I am exhausted no longer. 

Although I no longer work at this job and I no longer have a specific day of Sabbath I can speak that what God spoke to me in this period has stayed with me today.

I look back and I see that God was moving on my behalf, 
even in ways that I could not see.

Shortly after this time I found out that the office would be closing and I entered a time of intense emotional wrestling.  Without God moving on my behalf I’m not sure how I would have made it through.


I now make time to stop and just be with God.  

I now make time to know God and be known by Him.  

I now make time to be still so that His glory may be shown.  

I now make time so that what I do could be out of a peace that only comes from His presence.

Be still.  Know that He is God.  Be still.  Know Him and be known by Him.  Be still. Be.

Resolving to Relate: DTR Part Two

5 10 2016

If you have been following my blog for any length you will notice that there has been a strong theme over the past few months that have to do with 1. identity and 2. Relationships.  This is because at my youth group we have been talking about Identity (Who we are in Light of who God is), Resolving to Follow God, and then how those two play out in our relationships, especially dating, sex and marriage.

In our Identity series we talked about Determining the Relationship and that we must resolve to love those we interact with not as the world calls us to love but instead with God’s love.  A few weeks ago we touched back on this idea of Determining the Relationship but more in the context of relationships.

Our original design was as the image bearer of God , male and female together. As the imago dei (image of God/image bearer of God) we were created for:

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with others

If we are made as the image of God – then we have to understand who God is:

God is love.

1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

This word love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love…

…is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I) something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

…it sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something they have done or not done but just because of who they are.

…is not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient, even knowing this may lead to rejection.

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.

A love that gives what people need not what they want.

A love that is willing to be rejected to truly love.

A love based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.

A love not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

But the question is, how do we do that?

  1. A love that gives what people need not what they want.

I firmly believe that with both friends and with the suitable partner God has for us – that they will challenge us to be more of who God created us to be. They will give us what we need feedback, challenges, encouragement, room to grow, etc. not necessarily what we want.

We also need to be willing to be those people. Those friends and even those possible suitable partners.  Are we giving space for them to seek God first and not us, are we challenging what they are hearing from God when it sounds off base?  Are we calling them out when their actions don’t line up with what they say God has said?

2. Love with willful purpose – not a love based on feelings.

In resolving to relate – we need to be intentional – we need to have willful purpose in our relationships. We need to know what God is calling us to.

In our relationships we need to care both about those we are relating with today but also those we will be relating with and who they will be relating with in the future…

Listen to me, it isn’t just about how far is too far. But it is about honoring each other and those you will end up being with.

3. We need to be intentional today for the promises God has for us tomorrow.

We need to not just think about today but we need to ask God what He has for us in the future and then make decisions based on those promises.

Noah started building the Ark when there weren’t any clouds in the sky… when they didn’t even have a concept of what rain was. His actions were in light of God’s Word for the future not what he saw or felt in that moment.

4. We need to know who we are in God.

Adam and Eve were suitable partners for what God had created them to do.  God’s plan for us includes suitable partners for what we were created to do. But that means that to know who is suitable, we have to be willing to wait until we know what God has called us to do.

This doesn’t mean that we have to know the exact specifics but we must have a sense of the direction that God is calling us to.

God gave me this picture:

Imagine that you are back in high school and you have a huge project for one of your classes. Each person has a unique project they are working on and it has to do with who they are and how they were created.  Each project was created to bring out that specific person.

With this project, you will be working with a partner of the opposite sex.  The teacher tells you as you are receiving your projects that you can choose your own partner or you can wait on the teacher and they will pair you with someone who has a project that would complement your own.

You decide to pick your own partner.  You see someone who you think is cute and looks as though you would get along great.  You introduce yourself and ask if they would like to be partners.  They quickly agree and you start talking.  You find out that you have similar personalities, you likes similar things and everything looks perfect to you.

Over time though, you find that your projects are less compatible than you first imagined.  Conflict begins to arise as your research and resources are incompatible.  You find that either you must separate to find new partners, you will stay together but work harder to try and make things work or one of you will have give up their project.

If you had just waited on the teacher they would have brought you a suitable companion.  A companion whose project would have complimented your own.

The questions that God has challenged me and I challenged my youth with is this:

Are we willing to be intentional today – in our relationships –
for the promises of God for tomorrow?  

Are we willing to be intentional today so that our marriages, our callings,
our families tomorrow will be all that God intends them to be?

Zacchaeus: A wee little man made tall.

5 10 2016

Since I read the story of Zaccheaus this morning I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Driving into the office this morning I was pondering the story and I was struck with a thought that I had never had before.  But hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start with the story:

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

Luke 19:1-10Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,’Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'”

Okay, let’s break it down for a moment.  Zacchaeus was a wee little man, not just in stature but in character.  He was a tax collector but not just a tax collector the chief tax collector.

Tax collectors were despised by their own people because they collected taxes on behalf of the Roman government.  But it wasn’t just their job title that caused their own people to marginalize them, no it was the fact that they were dishonest, cheating their very own people out of their money.  They would inflate the tax and then cushion their pockets with the extra.  And Zacchaeus was the chief of them all.

And this chief sinner, when hearing that Jesus was coming through was drawn to His presence.  There was something about Jesus that beckoned to Zacchaeus, that caused Him to desire to see who He was.  It was this something that caused a grown man to become undignified and climb a tree.

One of my favorite parts of this passage though is that Jesus knew Zacchaeus was in the tree.  He knew without looking up and He desired Zacchaeus to be in His presence and know Him.  Jesus called out to the chief of sinners.  And it was from being in the presence of Jesus that Zacchaeus repented of his ways.  He repented of his sin and offered restitution and reconciliation to his people.

Zacchaeus released control of his money.  He released control of the very thing that he had held onto comfort before, the very thing that he had tried to use to ease his sin.  He released providing for himself and self medicating all for the presence of His Lord. 

And it was this thought that caught me anew this morning.  As I was thinking about Zacchaeus’ response to the presence of His Lord my mind turned to an encounter that had happened just a chapter earlier.  The encounter of the rich young ruler:

The Rich Young Ruler

Luke 18:18-23 “A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’

‘All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

Such a different response from Jesus and these men.  Zacchaeus, the chief of sinners, gladly gave all that he had from his encounter with Jesus.  Zacchaeus gladly gave up his wealth for the true life from Jesus.  The rich young ruler, although considered pious, still lacked in that he clung to the temporary riches.

One clung to the eternal and the other the temporary.

Jesus exclaimed salvation to Zacchaeus but not the rich young ruler.  The chief of sinners received salvation and rejoiced while the pious ruler left sad.

Are we clinging to the eternal or the temporary?  

What is our response to the presence of Jesus?  

Are we encountering a teacher or our Lord?

Identity: Determining the Relationship

4 10 2016

I went to a smallish bible college for my college education.  And I’m not sure about most colleges but at my school relationships and dating were weird.  Our campus and student body was so small that no matter what you did everyone was watching and noticing.

There was a phenomenon in college called “DTRing”  DTR stood for “Determining the Relationship.”  A DTR happened when two members of the opposite sex had been hanging out a lot and on one side or the other questions of where this newfound friendship were going arose.  A DTR conversation could be identified by the following:

  1. A male and female were sitting alone at a bench or table.
  2. Normally there was an abnormal amount of space between the two.
  3. At least one of the individuals looked extremely uncomfortable.
  4. Both were serious.

A DTR conversation could happen because friends were questioning the friendship or due to a desire from one participant to be more than friends.  A DTR was meant to determine what their relationship was: dating or friendship.

I wish I could say that I never had a DTR but unfortunately I participated in a few too many of these.  And while the concept is mildly amusing to think back upon I can’t help but think that when we are talking about our identity as image bearers of God, that we are made for relationship with God and others, that we must Determine what our Relationship with the World will be.

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about.

If we are made in the image of God we have to understand who God is.

God is love. – 1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

When I say love what do you think about?

This love that speaks of God’s love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love… considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I)
something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

..sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something
they have done or not done but just because of who they are. not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead
what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient,
even knowing this may lead to rejection.

God’s love for man is His doing what He knows to be best for man, not what man desires, because He sees us as infinitely precious to Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you look at Jesus, Jesus was not the Messiah, the Savior they wanted but He was the Messiah, Savior they needed.

God loved mankind enough to give us what we needed (and still need) knowing that mankind could continue to reject Him.

God’s love for us is not motivated or manipulated by our rejection or disobedience.

Romans 8:39 “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.  

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?  It is out of His identity of love that our identity and purpose are redeemed. Jesus redeemed our identity and redeemed our purpose of relationship with God and others.

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.  A love that… what people need not what they want.

…is willing to be rejected to truly love. based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and
deserving of God’s truth, God’s life. not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

What the World desires is to be accepted just as they are. To be accepted in their brokenness and chaos.  They know nothing except brokenness.  Their true desire is love, God’s love, but they don’t have even a basis to know what that is.

Eph 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are listening to say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Are we willing for the World to dislike us if it means they will experience God?

Are we willing to be rejected to truly love others?

Will we resolve to love and not tolerate, no matter what it takes?


Identity: Purity

4 10 2016

I’ve already shared with you that identity has been something that I’ve struggled with as I felt I had to earn or work towards what I thought my identity was.  Purity was an area that I never felt I had “achieved.”  It wasn’t that I had really made any choices that lead me to thinking I wasn’t “pure” but I never felt good enough.  Let me give you a bit more context…

My name is Kaitlin.  If you’ve ready my post καθαρός then this will all sound familiar but forgive me from indulging for a moment.  My name Kaitlin is derived from the Greek word Kathros.  This word can be found in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see the Lord.”  The word pure in this passage is that Greek word, Kathros.  So you see, my very name speak the identity of purity but I felt as though it was something that I would attain after years of striving, after years of doing what I was supposed to.  I needed to discipline myself in the things of the Lord, get rid of all my sin, and then I would be pure of heart so I could see God.

You see, I thought that my identity and thus my purity was based on me doing instead of me being.

But, purity is so much more than what we often talk about.  Purity is more than saving sex for marriage.  Purity is more than learning to not go too far.  Purity in its simplest form is about relationship, but not the type we typically think about.  Purity is about our relationship with God.

Purity is a lifestyle of wholehearted devotion to God. 

As I began to share earlier… For my whole life I have held onto the verse Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see the Lord.”

… I held onto the idea that this was who I was destined to be.  My identity was to be pure of heart for then and only then would I receive what my heart desired, to see the Lord.  I have always looked at this verse as something to be attained, that if I try hard enough, if I keep myself pure, if I do all that I should be doing, then and only then could this verse truly be my identity.  But in the last few years God has spoken to me something that changed the way I see my name and myself.

He spoke to me truth.  “Purity of heart” is not something to be attained in the future but instead is the identity that God has already given to me.  God sees me as pure of heart, it is not something I must “make happen” but instead, in my passionate love of Him, it is found.

The phrase pure in heart means having a singleness of heart toward God. A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile, no hidden motives. The pure heart is marked by transparency and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things. It is more than an external purity of behavior; it is an internal purity of soul.

Purity is much more than what we can/should do or not do. Purity is a journey that must originate inward and flow outward.  Purity isn’t just about what we have, should, haven’t, shouldn’t do but instead purity is focusing completely our whole attention, in every area of our life on God.

In scripture there is a man who God calls “a man after His own heart.” Do you know who this is?  It is King David.  David: Sought God, Knew God, Meditated on His Word

This type of life starts from the inside.  Inner purity, the condition of our heart, is most important to God.True purity isn’t something we can do on our own.  True purity only comes from Jesus repairing our broken hearts and replacing them entirely.

Titus 3:5 “Jesus saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

Even King David though, the man who was after God’s own heart, screwed up.  He slept with a married woman, killed her husband and then married her.  But even in the face of his sin God still saw King David as pure of heart.  God saw the inward part of him…

Psalm 51:10, David cries out to the Lord, “Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me.”

The question isn’t if we will screw up, but instead what will we do when we do?

Purity in our lives doesn’t mean that we don’t screw up, but that we always rely on, have eyes on, turn back to God when we do screw up.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

When we allow God to replace our heart and cleanse us, then he begins to permeate through our whole life.  Is the cry of our heart the same as David’s?  Create in me a pure heart?  Renew the Spirit, will, desires within me?

Growing up my dad used to talk about our lives as though they were a glass house.  He would ask us to invite Jesus into this house and begin to show Him around.  As we showed Him each of the rooms His light would permeate and shine through the whole house.  We had to decide when we came to a room with our sin and garbage if we would allow Him to clean that room so that His light could shine.  This is true purity – allowing God to shine his light through our whole life.

1 Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

The goal of purity is action – to love God, others and ourselves well.  Purity before God happens when everything we do becomes an act of worship.  Purity is our identity, not because of what we do, have done, don’t do or haven’t done.   Purity is our identity because we are an image bearer of Him. 

God redeems us as His image bearer, when we rely on Him to redeem us, to make us clean – when we turn our hearts fully towards Him and worship Him in all we do, then HE changes our thoughts, feelings, actions and makes us pure.

Will we allow God to redeem our identity?  Will we decide to pursue Him with everything we are and allow Him to bring about purity from our inside out?

Identity: Unashamed

3 10 2016

Identity is such a touchy subject for so many and yet our identity affects how we move through life and interact with others.  We will only have a true view of our identity if we view ourselves in light of God.  Our original design is as the image bearer of God, we were made as the imago dei (image of God).  We were made for:

    1. Relationship with God
    2. Relationship with others

Our true identity is one of living unashamed: Living life under the light and life of Jesus.  But this identity doesn’t just start with Jesus but instead it starts at the very beginning…

Genesis 2:25 “Adam and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.”

At the very beginning, Adam and Eve lived with no shame.  They walked with God, they walked with each other.  They were naked, enjoying intimacy that only comes from nothing being hidden.  They were unashamed.  But if you continue moving into chapter 3 we see that once in the garden, they are deceived and sin.  They eat of the tree of good and evil.  Genesis 3:8-11 highlights that one byproduct of their deception and sin was shame.

They recognized that they were naked, they were ashamed and they hid from God.

How often is this our reaction? When we mess up, when we sin, instead of turning to God we run away and hide.  This reaction is rooted in shame.

You see Shame robs us of intimacy in our relationship. Shame causes us to hide from God and others.

Adam and Eve were made without shame to be naked in the garden. Naked before God and each other.  If we get past the idea of them walking naked in the garden we recognize that they were not just naked in the physical but they were naked also in their intimacy with each other. Nothing was hidden.

The image bearer of God: man and woman, was made for intimacy with God and each other. Shame robs us of the very intimacy we were created for.

So the question is, what is shame?

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Shame is a painful social emotion that can be seen as resulting from comparison of action to standards, comparison of self with social standard.  Shame may stem from a volitional action or simply self-regard, no action by the shamed being is required: simply existing is enough.

It is interesting to me that the root of the word shame is thought to derive from an older word meaning “to cover,” as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame.

Brene Brown a research professor who has spent 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame says the following about shame:

 “Shame is the most powerful, master emotion.  It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Brene Brown

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love.” Brene Brown

“The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between I am bad and I did something bad.” Brene Brown

The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between I am bad and I did something bad.  One speaks identity and one speaks behavior.  BE vs. Do.  The enemy will always try to get us focused on Doing instead of Being. Our Doing should always flow out of our Being.

You see, per the usual, shame is a false identity that the enemy tries to get us to buy into, saying that we are bad because we did something bad.  But the truth is that although we are sinners, when we allow Jesus to redeem our identity, we no longer have to identify as a sinner but instead we identify as children of God.

Marilyn J. Sorensen says it this way: “Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong.”  While guilt is seeing what you’ve done, shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done.

2 Cor. 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

    1. Guilt – the true emotion of wrong actions (sin) is godly sorrow and can lead us to repentance and thus salvation.
    2. Shame – camps us out on the act of our guilt saying this is where our identity lies.

Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable.  Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished.

Shame happened in the garden with Adam and Eve and it led them to hide instead of going to the one who created them. (Genesis 3)

1 John 1:9 tells us the truth – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalms 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Through Christ we do not have to live under shame, but our identity has been redeemed.

Romans 10:11 – “Anyone who believes in Him (Jesus) will never be put to shame.”

When we believe in Him we will not be put to shame. Jesus took on shame so that when we believe we don’t have to. Shame has been a thing that God has been speaking to me about in recent days.  Shame is not a respecter of persons and is not found in just one area of our life.

But Shame is not of God. Shame is of the enemy and is a tool to keep us feeling alone and to torment us. Shame is born out of darkness, out of a lack of transparency and vulnerability. Shame is a way to keep us silent.  Brene Brown says “Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement.”

As I look back at different areas of my life where shame once reigned there’s a theme.  Wherever shame reigned there was something that I was hiding –

  • sin,
  • perceived sin,
  • weakness,
  • hurt, etc.

…in each of those areas I felt alone, I wondered if I would ever be free and if God could ever change the situation.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and I find this to be true.  As I look back I see that the moment those issues were brought into the light, shame no longer reigned.  Instead of shame, hope was born. And as I continued to keep it in the light, exposed to those God had placed in my life, the more hope and freedom flourished.

You see when something is in darkness, hidden away and in the clutches of shame the enemy can wreak havoc. BUT the very moment that it is brought into the light, the enemy no longer has a claim.

Ephesians 5:11-14 “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them… But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

True purity (a life devoted to God) is allowing God to shine his light through our whole life.  Purity is the act of allowing God to shine light on the dark areas of our lives so that shame cannot reign but our part is bringing this into the open with those that we trust.

What we bring into the light the enemy can no longer manipulate.  So the questions remain:

Are you living life under the light and life of Jesus as one unashamed?  

And, will you allow the light and life of Jesus to shine on you and redeem you?