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Leading The Way - Week of March 14

Loved and Unashamed

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Biblically speaking, shame can be a healthy response to sin. When we know we have done something that violates God’s commands, shame rises up within us in order to drive us toward the mercy of God. In this way, shame is a good thing, a blessing from the Lord.

But there is also an unhealthy version of shame. Whereas healthy shame alerts us to our need for forgiveness, unhealthy shame tells us we are unworthy of forgiveness. This twisted shame refuses to accept the grace and mercy of God and is therefore destructive and deadly. This unhealthy version of shame comes as a result of believing a lie—that somehow we have wandered too far away for God to love us. Brothers and sisters, this kind of shame does not come from God; it comes from Satan, the father of lies (see John 8:44). Do not believe it. No matter what you’ve done, God stands with arms wide open, ready to forgive you (see 1 John 1:9).

This, of course, is not the only lie our enemy wants us to believe when it comes to shame. He wants us to see the worldly-wise—those with wealth, power, and status—reproach the ways of God. He wants us to be afraid of what others think—especially those close to us, our friends, our family, our coworkers—and he wants us to be ashamed of the Gospel. This temptation was just as real in the first century as it is in our day. That’s why Paul told Timothy, “[D]o not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner” (2 Timothy 1:8).

Paul made such a strong point of not being ashamed of the Gospel because he had wrestled with this precise temptation, faced it, and conquered it. The unadulterated Gospel calls us to transcend our fear and embarrassment and to boldly confess before men and women that Jesus Christ is Lord. It may mean we will be ridiculed. It may mean that we will be persecuted. It may mean we will lose our jobs. But what did the Gospel cost our Lord? No matter what the world does to us, we must never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—for it is the Gospel alone that saves us, transforms us, and gives us a hope and a future.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times that I fall for Satan’s lies. I trust in Your unfailing love. Help me to stand firm no matter what You call me to face in this life, remembering the sacrifice of my Savior and the reward that awaits me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Never Give Up: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW



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