Many people have a shamed based identity. Their selftalk is constantly reminding them they are wrong, a mistake, inadequate, and unlovable. This outlook is a major reason they are not overcomers in life.
We live in a world under the curse of sin and death. Because of this life can be hard at times. Life is not fair and life is full of adversity that must be overcome. God is well aware of this reality and has provided a way for His children to be overcomers no matter how tough the adversity. God says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world”(1 John 5.4).
Like many of us the psalmist (Psalm 25) wanted to put shame far from him. In this psalm he lays out a path showing exactly how to do this. Perhaps you don’t think of yourself in terms of being an overcomer. Your shame factor may be too high to allow you to think this way. Remember God says we overcome through our faith. Faith is believing what God says in His word and acting upon it (Hebrews 11.1). Let’s listen to what the writer has to say and be willing to act upon what God says to us through him.
Learn to wait on God
God tells me if I can be patient and learn to wait on Him I will never be put to shame (v.3). What does this mean to wait on God? It means to not be impulsive and make a major decision in a rash way. The problem with a decision is often we are not sure how it will turn out. That is why we say hindsight is 20/20 for none of us can predict the future except God. He alone knows the beginning from the end He is omniscient. Action is not always the answer; sometimes we need to wait for God to reveal Himself and show us the right move.
Marriage is one practical opportunity to live out waiting on God. Don’t make any major decisions until you both can agree on a course of action. When there is disunity, give God the opportunity to bring unity. Slow down, take time to talk and listen to each other and pray about it. Remember the goal of life is not to get your way but to develop healthy relationships. In waiting on God you give Him time to work to do something you never anticipated.
Seek to know God and His ways
None of us knows everything about everything. We usually don’t know as much as we think we know. The “best and the brightest” among us have made some pretty stupid decisions. The only one who is all knowing and all wise is God. He alone knows everything about everything. God challenges us to get to know Him and His ways better.
How often have you said why to God? How often have you said, “I just don’t understand what God is doing?” This lack of understanding of God’s ways can lead to us making false assumptions about God or our current situation.
We then make a wrong decision that results in our shame.
There is only one definitive source of knowing God — the Bible. So while you are waiting on God, take time to saturate your soul in His truth. Read it, listen to it being taught and expose yourself to it as much as possible. Each of us is exposed to lies and the deception of false philosophy every day. This untruth shapes our thinking and causes us to act in unbiblical ways to our shame. God tells us to not be conformed to this world’s way of thinking but to renew our mind (through the Bible). In this way we will be able to discern God’s will for our life (Romans 12.2). No one has ever found themselves drowning in shame because they listened to God and followed His teachings.
Have a humble heart before God
Humility is attained by having an accurate view of God and self. Humble people realize they are nothing apart from God. All they achieve, or have is due to His grace. Humility also means to agree with God. Regardless of how strong a person feels or believes about anything, when in conflict with God He is always right. The only changing that needs to take place is with me never God. We must agree with God for His ways are always right and best.
No human can make the claim of always being right, only God. Therefore, we must keep our focus on God not people or circumstances. It is through humility that we can become the friend of God. Being a friend of God is not presumption, but it is just giving God His rightful place in our life. God invites us into this special relationship. All we must do is be willing to humble ourselves and draw close to God (James 4.78).
God doesn’t play favorites He is willing to be a friend to anyone who desires His friendship. Following these guidelines will lead to a life of integrity and uprightness. A life of this caliber will never need to feel shame (Psalm 25.2021).
This is a life that overcomes life’s adversity.
Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach along with his son John Jr. He can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.