Read: “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 (TLB)
Reflect: I grew up in church and have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember, but I definitely didn’t live as if I was free for years. Instead, I lived trapped by shame and guilt, sure that if people knew the real me, they wouldn’t want to be my friends. My past, both the ways I had been hurt and the choices I had made—some as a result of those early wounds—were things I didn’t talk about. I expended so much energy trying to keep everything locked down and controlled that I even made sure I didn’t mix my church friends with friends who knew my past.
But then we joined a new church and people shared their stories regularly instead of hiding them. They weren’t bragging or proud of harmful choices, but they definitely weren’t ashamed. They believed Jesus when he said they didn’t have to carry the weight of condemnation. They were free and they shared so others could have that same freedom.
This weekend, we were urged to read the Bible and learn how much God loves us, cares for us, has planned for us, and has forgiven us. Embracing the truth in the verse above was life giving for me. It opened up my relationships in a way I couldn’t have imagined and it showed me where I was stuck so I could seek help, allowing me to move out from under shame and condemnation and into freedom.
React: God loves you and doesn’t want you to live burdened by condemnation, guilt, and shame. He wants you to experience life-giving freedom! Ask God what your next step is in moving forward in this life of freedom he’s inviting you into.
Pray: Thank you for loving us when we feel unlovable and like we need to hide ourselves from you and everyone else. Show us how to live out the freedom you give.