As soon as Adam and Eve messed up, the Enemy started speaking shame over them, and he’s been doing it ever since then.
Guilt, that sense of conviction that comes over us when we do something wrong, is healthy and moves us toward positive change. Shame, however, drives us into a never-ending cycle of trying to fix ourselves, to prove to the world and ourselves that we are not inherently flawed, that we have value.
The lie the Devil wants me to believe, and you to believe, is that we are never going to live beyond the consequences of our actions. It’s a lie he’s been perfecting since the beginning of time. But I’m here to tell you his lie, the shame he pours into us, serves one purpose: to distract us and keep us busy trying to prove to he world that we are perfect. The lie tells us we will never be good enough, regardless of what we do with our lives or how we live out our calling.
On the flip side of the lie of shame is the lie of pride. If the Enemy can’t make us doubt our worth, he makes us believe in an equally false version of it, one that tells us we are valuable because of our incredible efforts, sometimes even our efforts on behalf of God. But whether we believe the lie of shame or the lie of pride, each is rooted in our need to feel worthy.
Finding Our Worth
The key to having a healthy understanding of our worth is knowing to whom we belong. There have been library rows full of books written about worth. But without an understanding of God through a relationship with Jesus that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will never really understand the true source of our value.
Keeping us busy trying to prove our worth is the easiest way to keep us from the life God created us to live because it makes us think that our worth is based on what we do, instead of who God is.
Spending our lives being busy trying to prove our worth is how the Enemy fulfills the warning we read in John 10:10:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
But this verse does not just warn us of the Enemy’s plan, it also reveals God’s plan:
I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full.
(Whenever I read this verse I say, “Because I have come, you, Alli, have great worth.” Try adding your name and speaking that over yourself.)
The Lie of Not Enough
Not that long ago, I was having lunch with a woman I was mentoring who wanted to start her own side business teaching photography classes. She was a world-class photographer and had that patient, gracious spirit that great teachers have. As we waited for our food to arrive, I asked her what was holding her back, and she admitted, “Alli, I’m afraid.” It was odd to me that she said “afraid” because truthfully, she’s one of the coolest women I know. She had built her photography business from the ground up, and it was thriving. When I asked her what she was afraid of she said, “Pick a number! I’m afraid I’m not smart enough. I’m afraid I can’t teach well enough. I’m afraid I’m not good enough.” I said, “In every sentence you just spoke you said, ‘I am not enough — can’t teach well enough, not smart enough, not good enough.’ You are a Christian. Does that sound like the voice of God to you? Would He tell you that you aren’t enough?”
She shook her head no and said, “I’m just afraid I am a fraud, that I will be a teaching disgrace, and that I’m totally unworthy of teaching anyone anything.”
Looking her straight in the eye, like I do with my boys when they need to pay attention, I said, “What you are hearing is the voice of shame, and you are so shackled to that shame, you can’t take one step forward to do what you were created to do. You are not a disgrace, because you serve a God who is grace-filled, and it is that God who makes you worthy.”
Every day the Enemy lies to people, trying to distract them from their calling.
- He tells pastors they aren’t worthy of teaching the Bible because they aren’t perfect.
- He tells mothers they are doing a horrible job and their kids will suffer for their mistakes.
- He tells men they have to be at the top of the corporate ladder making six-figure salaries, even if it means never seeing their families.
- He tells teenagers that their parents’ faith is meaningless and to abandon it if they want to really experience the life they are meant to live.
- And he most likely tells you a lie that you believe.
But God reminds us that He offers us life — a rich, full, abundant life — free from striving for our own sense of perfection, a life resting in the assurance that we are already perfect because of the work He has done on the cross.
Excerpted with permission from Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington, copyright Alli Worthington.
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What lies are you believing? If you were sitting face-to-Face with Jesus, would He say to you the things you say about yourself? Today let’s be reminded that God wants us to have life, and have it to the full! Come join the conversation on our blog. We would love to hear from you about breaking shame! ~ Devotionals Daily