I Can’t, But God did
Sermon by: Pastor Harrison Chokka
Summarized by: Aajah Sauter
Guilt and shame can suffocate us if we let it. We can be our biggest critics, and that often leads us to feel guilt and shame for an extended period of time. Sometimes, we experience so much shame that we hide from God, fearing he won’t love us the same. Today, I want us to recognize Jesus’ love for you doesn’t stop at your mistakes. I want to encourage you and affirm that it is quite the contrary.
We are in part four of our “Untangling Emotions” series here at Kingdom Church, and Pastor Harrison had a heart-opening message to share. The theme of this series is as follows: “You can’t be spiritually healthy while remaining emotionally immature.” This idea comes from Christian author Pete Scazzero and his Emotionally Healthy book series. What does this statement mean? You can act like you have it all together when it comes to your relationship with Christ, but when it comes to evaluating your emotions in a healthy manner, you’re at a loss and, instead, choose to resort to old and unhealthy ways.
Pastor Harrison encourages us to use this series as a mirror and not as a window. Use this series for some much-needed self-reflection. Not as a mechanism to point fingers at the problems of others.
Pastor Harrison takes us to Genesis 3, where we see “the fall.” This story speaks to the heart of who we are as people and sheds light on our natural inclination to hide when we feel we have done something wrong.
When Adam and Eve’s eyes open, they realize they have done something wrong and begin to feel guilt. Guilt communicates that “I have done something wrong,” and shame communicates that “something is wrong with me.” As a result, we internalize this guilt. Adam and Eve hide because they feel guilty. They knew that they had not lived up to their standard, so they felt ashamed.
One of the amazing qualities of God’s heart is that he always wants to call us higher and closer to him. What is meant for evil, he turns for good. So instead of using the feelings of shame and guilt to condemn us, he uses them to draw us near. Let’s break this down further.
Shame is NOT a result of sin. Viewing shame as a result of sin paints shame in a negative light and shame is not always a bad thing. Shame came BECAUSE Adam and Eve sinned. Additionally, shame does not come from Satan, but rather, it is a result of listening to him.
If you don’t take anything else away from Pastor Harrison’s sermon, please remember this. Shame and guilt are the proper response to falling short of God’s standard. God wants to use those emotions to guide us back to him. Feeling no shame at all is what's worse because that means we are comfortable living in sin and constantly falling short of God’s standards. When Jesus comes into our lives, there should be practices that make us feel guilty and shameful. God USES our emotions of shame and guilt to take us somewhere far better than where he finds us.
This scripture calls us to recognize that “I am not God, and I fell short of His standard.” The proper response to the light that is Jesus is to feel a tinge of guilt. This vital takeaway is that Jesus does not cause these emotions, but He uses them. He uses them not to keep us there but to call us somewhere.
The intrinsic fear of reading the Bible comes from the worry that reading it will reveal something about our nature that we don’t want to see. For this reason, we sometimes stay out of the Word to avoid feelings of shame and guilt. The truth is, the Lord doesn’t want to bring you to this shame and guilt but wants to show us for a moment that he has something better in store for us.
Conviction is from God. This calls us higher. Condemnation comes from Satan, and he uses that to call us inward, internalize our shame, and cause us to hide from God. Furthermore, conviction is God’s attempt to free you, and condemnation is the devil’s attempt to enslave you. Guilt gets our attention, but God does not leave us there.
When the devil says “hide” or “suppress,” God urges us to run to Him instead. Some of us are hiding because of real shame, real failures, leaving us naked and ashamed. But God clothes us nonetheless.
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