MONDAYS WITH KERRI
Since the fall of Adam and Eve, shame has been a prevalent part of our lives. We don’t recognize it as such because we don’t know any better. It is like traveling to an exotic, foreign land and feasting on the richest and most sumptuous fare while staying at a five-star resort. You experience what it means to be lavished and pampered in a way you never dreamed possible as you take advantage of the in-room spa treatments and resident masseuse. Until you visited this place, you couldn’t have possibly known what you were missing in the ordinary suburban life you had been limited to previously. You return home and try to explain the lavish lifestyle you enjoyed to your friends. However, they can’t even imagine what you are describing. They have never left your hometown. In much the same way we have been slaves to our shame since birth. We cannot imagine life without it, and until we experience freedom from it, we don’t even recognize the full extent of its bondage.
Before the enemy lied to Eve, man and woman had never encountered shame and they had never been aware of the fact that they were naked. “‘Who told you that you were naked?’ the LORD God asked. ‘Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?’” Genesis 3:11. Notice that God asks who told them of their nakedness and then doesn’t wait for them to respond. Instead, He quickly makes the same assumption we can make. Shame is always caused by a lie and will manifest itself in sin. There is no shame outside of sin but there is always shame when we are deceived. This creates a vicious cycle. As control tempts us, we desperately seek after it only to realize we are naked and completely out of control. Covering our shame becomes our full-time occupation; it serves a constant reminder of our failure and depravity. It is an effective strategy of our enemy because it keeps our eyes off of The One who created us and on ourselves.
Shame is a powerful weapon our enemy uses against us relentlessly. Shame enters our lives the moment a lie is not identified and rebuked. Therefore, shame is a passive way of agreeing with deception. Instead of saying no to the lie, we look at it, consider it, and contemplate it. There is no gray in the spirit realm if we don’t say no to what is sent against us. We are, in fact, agreeing with it. Shame always starts subtly. When the lie enters our minds, it does what it was sent to do. It takes our focus off The One who created us and puts it squarely on ourselves. Then, all we can see is our shortcomings, flaws, failures and sin to the exclusion of anyone and anything else. It is a form of idolatry as it puts you and me on center stage of our own lives. It is a false identity that has been scripted for us by The Betrayer. It is just like a part in a play. We buy into his lie and step right into the role of The Betrayed like an actress on a soap opera. Our enemy knows that if you and I are walking in the false identity he sells us, it is impossible for us to walk in our God–given identity as His Beloved.
We have been enslaved to shame in our physical bodies since the Garden of Eden as well. As women, we are assaulted by distorted body images, eating disorders, and various controlling behaviors with food. Every woman alive has or will be distracted from her identity as The Beloved by her body at some point in her life. We know our enemy’s highest aim is always to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves. As women, we are easily distracted by our beauty (or our perception as a lack thereof). Somewhere along the line, our enemy deceives each of us into believing we actually get to “vote” on our worth and desirability based on what we see in the mirror. However, our Heavenly Father’s perception of us was established before the foundation of the world. Nothing we can do, say, or look could ever change that! In the creation account found in Genesis chapter one, God makes the world and every living thing in it. After He creates each day, He steps back to reflect on His work. Each time He declares it good. However, after He creates man and woman, His verbiage changes drastically. Verse thirty-one says, “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way…” You and I are excellent in every way. We don’t get to raise our hands and explain the ten pounds we just gained on vacation or argue with Him about our worth based on what we see when we get dressed each morning! You and I are not the exception to His statement–we have been declared excellent. Wrestle around in this truth and then choose to accept it. Otherwise, you are agreeing with The Betrayer rather than claiming your position as the Beloved.
Is it hard for you to read “you are excellent in every way”? If so, is it because you are viewing yourself through the lens of your shame rather then through the truth of the cross?
You also just read “Shame is always caused by a lie and will manifest itself in sin.” Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a lie you may be believing, how has it manifested in a lie?