Here we are in week 3 of the Unashamed Bible Study!
Can you believe we’re almost half-way through this study with Christine? If you have yet to dive into our private Facebook group and live chats on Thursdays, I really encourage you to do so. Many of you have opened up and shared how this study is impacting your lives and you have started praying for one another… it’s been fantastic! Don’t miss out on these community gatherings!
Keep digging deep into the study guide on your own or with your group. Even though it may be challenging, and for some of you it’s been really hard to share your personal stories, know that this is a safe community and the Lord is doing great things here!
This week we’re in session three “Possess Your Inheritance,” and we will:
- Watch the video for session three on DVD or right here on FaithGateway. Remember you have one week to watch the video, and there’s a catch-up week at the very end when you can watch them all again.
- Go through the group discussion questions for session three in the Unashamed Study Guide (pages 51-63). These are the same questions we use in our Thursday online chats or they’re perfect for your group.
- For your personal study this week, read and journal in the Unashamed Study Guide (pages 64-70, the yellow section).
- Recommended (but optional) – read chapters 6-8 of Unashamed, the paperback companion book, not study guide.
Scripture to read this week:
- Deuteronomy 8:1-9
- Hebrews 12:1-3
- Matthew 27:45-46
Out of Slavery, Into the Wilderness
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. — Joshua 1:9
How many years have you spent circling the same mountain, settling for less than the full freedom and wholeness that God wants you to experience? How long have you been wandering in the desert unwilling or feeling unable to move on from shame, pain, old internal messages, and fear? How many years have you been stuck in emotional wilderness, spiritual wilderness, relationship wilderness, addiction wilderness, or other personal wilderness?
If you’re anything like me, the answer is too many.
Because He loves us, God puts us in deserts (or puts deserts in us, if you know what I mean), in order to change and refine who we are, but we’re not meant to wander around and around for a generation.
After a period of time, we’re meant to leave the wilderness and enter the Promised Land.
Have you noticed that the heroes of our faith (and Christine) all went through terrible, long, lonely, punishing deserts of their own? I don’t know anyone who is strong in the Lord who hasn’t been taken out at the knees and been deeply broken by life, by others, by themselves, or by the Lord Himself. I don’t think it’s something we can escape. But, we do get to choose in those wilderness places to either rebel from God, hold onto anger at Him, and stay in the desert, or to follow Jesus, submit to His leadership, trust Him through the wilderness experience, be changed by Him, and truly begin to live set free for all He designed us to be and to do.
If we choose it, along with the Israelites, along with the heroes of faith, along with Christine, we can come out of our deserts changed people, with entirely different ways of thinking, and living, and being.
The desert is so isolating, isn’t it? It feels dangerous. Scary. Threatening. One of my favorite preachers calls it “the haunt of jackals”. It’s humbling (even humiliating). It reminds us of our powerlessness, especially in relation to Almighty God.
Sometimes, or maybe even most of the time, following God where He leads, even if He’s leading us out of that awful place is a scary venture! When we’ve been wrapped up in the “normalcy” of slavery, abuse, addiction, broken thinking, and feeling far from the Lord because of shame, it’s frightening to obey Him, to let go of old patterns, to be healed by Him, and to move on.
Shame is fear-driven. — CC
A couple of years ago when I was in the middle of serious crisis, I felt absolutely crippled by fear. When I read “Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9), I thought I literally can’t, God! I cannot be strong. I cannot be courageous! My circumstances were overwhelming, life-upending, and they shook me to the core. I didn’t even recognize myself much less like myself. Shame and fear had stolen my joy and replaced it with sleeplessness, desolation, paranoia, and exhaustion. Shame and fear are a vicious couple, bent on binding us up and tying us down.
A life liberated from fear is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. God wants you to move forward and it’s going to take faith to do that. — CC
If you’re there in that wilderness, my friend, know that you are not alone. God is there with you. In Scripture, the Lord calls His people out into the wilderness to meet with us personally (if we let Him), to confront us about the things in our lives that don’t belong in the life of a believer, to test us, break us, shape us, change us, and strengthen us. We are meant to be changed by God Himself in the desert…
But, we are not meant to stay there! We’re meant to possess the inheritance He promised!
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” — Deuteronomy 1:6
Have you stayed too long? I have!
We don’t have to spend forty years doing what can take 11 days!
So, how can we shortcut the long journey we often take when it was supposed to be a short one?
Trust and obey. Not the messages we learned in our slavery (Read Romans 12:1-2), but God. Trust and obey God.
Deserts, as Christine said, take the slavery mentality out of slaves. Doesn’t that sound so good?
Trusting God in the wilderness allows us to experience true freedom.
Letting go of fear brings us freedom.
Be strong and courageous! — Joshua 1:9
Here’s something else about the deserts God allows in our lives: they change us from the inside out, never letting us forget who we are without God and how great He is for delivering us!
I want to follow where God leads and not waste any more time in the desert. Don’t you?
Prayer for the Week
God, You are good. You love us. You call us to leave our wilderness places, and to go forward and possess our inheritance, our freedom from shame. We want to be change by You through circumstances that feel way above our ability to handle. When we can’t, You can. When we’re terrified, You strengthen us and protect us. You don’t call us to be totally fearless (because we can’t), just more faithful! Help us to walk in faith, Jesus! We love you! Amen.
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If you are going to pack your things and move out of the desert of shame, what is one specific change you need to make in the coming week? How will you begin on this journey? Leave your comments today on the blog or study video page. We’d love to hear from you, pray for you, cheer you on, and support you!