He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrow that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sin! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:3-5 NLT).
In Stormie Omartins’ book, Lord I want to be whole, she says “the love of God is not just a feeling; it’s God’s Spirit. Because He is love, just spending time in His presence in prayer and praise causes His love to permeate your being.” I have found this to be very true. It was the fall of 2007, during one of these awesome and wonderful encounters with Him when I first heard his quiet still small voice whisper to me “Get rid of your shame! It is not yours, I took it. Let go of it.” In January of 2008, I attended a prayer retreat sponsored by my church. We were asked to take some time alone to spend in prayer and this is when I heard the same words for the second time. I was not entirely sure what the Lord meant but he had my attention and I was going to find out.
The following year, the Lord revealed to me this shame had to do with misguided feelings of unworthiness. For years I had been defining myself by my weaknesses and living with a sin consciousness rather than a righteousness consciousness. Over the course of several weeks, as I spent time in prayer and self-introspection, God unraveled a string of revelations to me. During worship one Sunday, I heard once again His still small voice. This time I heard “It is time you start identifying yourself with me. Renounce the shame every time it comes against you. Remember it is not yours. You can walk in full assurance of who you are in me. You are not the same, you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Keep receiving.”
As I continued to inquire of the Lord, He answered. He spoke to me about receiving by faith (Rom 10:17) and redefined the word, perfection (1 Sam 16:7). Pastor Bill Johnson says that we live as forgiven people by grace but with Old Testament mindsets that work to get performance out of others. But in the Kingdom, we start accepted. Jesus is where our identity comes from and out of that comes our performance. He goes on to say, “The performance focused lifestyle is over. Nobody wants to make a mistake because they think God requires perfection.”
God wants our hearts. He sees our heart. And He wants you to see yourself as he sees you. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and invited Him into your heart then God sees Jesus. When you look into the mirror what do you see? Do you see the old you or the new you? God sees only the new, not the old. He does not love you for anything you have done or will do. He loves you for what Jesus has done and is doing in you. He doesn’t love you for who you are. He loves you for who Jesus is in you!
Are you working to get an identity to be accepted? If so, stop working and rest. Everything you need, Jesus provided for at the cross. You need only to come. Come to Jesus. He endured your rejection so you could be accepted by the Father. Receive.
Now I understand what Jesus was saying to me when He told me three times to get rid of the shame I was carrying. I could not see myself washed by the blood of Jesus. I had the head knowledge of what God’s word said about me. But it had not yet penetrated my heart. He was saying He bore my shame so I could share in His glory, the recognition of belonging to Him.
Perhaps I didn’t fully believe in my own conversion. I believe it is only when your heart comes into agreement with what you believe in your head that understanding and authentic transformation take place. God says you are righteous in Him (2Cor 5:21). You are holy in Him (Eph 1:4). You are a child of a King and joint heirs with Him (Rom 8:17). Therefore, you can partake in His glory. There is nothing you lack because you are complete in Him (Col 2:10). You see, you are everything in Christ and nothing without Him. Does your heart agree with who God says you are? Look in the mirror again. Now say out loud, “I like you. You are a child of God. God loves you for who you are in Jesus and what you do in Jesus.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as I reflect on what you did for me, please shine your light into the darkness of my life. Expose any lies I believe about myself and reveal the truth to me as I spend time in your presence and your word. May truth penetrate my heart and my mind. Thank you for taking my punishment so I am forgiven. Thank you for taking my wounds so I am healed. Thank you for dying so I can receive Your life. Thank you for bearing my shame so I can share Your glory. Thank you for enduring my rejection so I can have Your acceptance with the Father. In Your name I pray.