Read Time: 3.5 mins.
There are a LOT of voices out there ready to tell you what God is after, and what our involvement is in his plan for life. The subtle but powerful message that I got a lot growing up in the circles that I ran in was that God wanted me to emulate him as much as possible, and that better emulation of Him was achieved through specific kinds of activity. There was certainly a lot of activity to engage in! Prayer meetings, worship services, serving opportunities, bible studies, missions trips, the list goes on. The problem was, while I genuinely experienced God in all of those things, I remained on a kind of “spiritual hamster wheel”. None of this activity was actually making the goal of “the emulation of Christ” much more achievable. There always seemed like there was more to be done. After that night when the contradictions and questions became too much and I finally asked Jesus to “just show me what was true!”, something remarkable happened: He started to do it!
Once all my preconceived notions began to be stripped away, I started to rediscover the Old Testament as a detailed chronicle of people trying to follow God in this way and failing. Over and over and over again. The problem was, many of the activities and traditions that were designed to reveal God’s heart to Israel ultimately became stumbling blocks to them because they misunderstood what God was trying to say about them and about Himself. They were looking through a skewed lens, and they desperately needed some clarification!
This skewed lens has another name. It’s name is shame. Shame is propped up by 3 lies as old as humanity is. Bonner and I have taken to calling them the ‘Pillars of Shame’. It’s these 3 lies that are the root of every misconception we have about ourselves and about God. All deception and deceived behavior eventually boils down to one or all of them. These 3 pillars are at the core of all that is false, and they always lead to dependence on man instead of dependence on God. In Genesis, Satan expressed these to Eve in a single statement, and they became the lens that humanity would view reality though from then on.
“But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die [as God has said]! For God knows that on the day you eat from it [the tree] your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” - Genesis 3:4-5 AMP
There are some very sneaky implications hidden within Satan’s words in this passage. First, Satan suggests that God is withholding a greater awareness of reality from Adam and Eve. Second, he proposes that they are not like Him, and haven’t actually been formed in His Image (Genesis 1:26-27). Third, he advises that by taking the action to eat the fruit from the tree, they will actually receive what God supposedly hasn’t given them. Number 1, God is withholding Himself from you. Number 2, you are not like God. Number 3, that you have to do something to become like Him.
When Jesus and I boiled down the vast amount of my personal activity, more often than not, I discovered the “Pillars of Shame” propping them up. While the activities of worship, prayer, bible reading and the rest of it are definitely not wrong, the core “why” of much my activity was founded on shame. Friends, when Jesus said the words “follow me” to the disciples, He didn’t mean “engage in these specific activities and do your best to copy my behaviour”. The truth is so much better than that. It was an invitation for them to go on a tour of reality from God’s perspective. A tour that would utterly dismantle the “Pillars of Shame” forever.
In the next blog, we’ll talk about how Jesus fully dismantles shame, and opens up a view of God and of ourselves that is so much better than we ever thought possible!
THis Blog’s RECIPE
Now that you know the “pillars of shame”, ask Jesus to show you 1 or 2 activities or behaviors in your life where these lies may be present. Ask Him what kind of experience He desires for you instead.