“I don’t deserve to be prayed for.”
I know many men who’ve had this thought. Perhaps you’ve been one of them.
We sin. We stray. We are ashamed. Every one of us struggles personally with shame on some level, whether it is a sin from our past or an ongoing struggle. For some, the burden of shame is so heavy that it’s crippling. We begin to identify as our sin.
Is that shame keeping you from turning back to Christ?
The enemy would have us believe we are too far off the trail to return to him. We feel the need to be free of sin before we ask for forgiveness – like we have to be “good” for a certain length of time before we can repent.
But Christ is right there waiting to walk with us. All we have to do is turn around. We’re not called to lift our burden; we are called to lift up our eyes to him. Don’t let the enemy convince you that it’s harder than that.
What do we need to remember so we will lay that burden down?
Come to Him
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30
Come. Turn back. Walk toward Christ. Put one foot in front of the other. It is that simple. When we come to him, we find rest for our weary souls. Rest is a gift from him.
Carrying the yoke and burden of our sin does not serve as penance. It does not justify. It only serves to hold us back and weigh us down. Lay it down and pick up his yoke.
Walk in his Ways
We are wise in our own eyes, aren’t we? We tend to follow our own paths and ways. But Psalm 25 reminds us that when we turn to his path, He instructs, He leads, and He teaches us his way because He is good.
“Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalm 25: 8-10
Do you want to know the path that takes you away from shame? Read through the Psalm. Highlight how many times you see reference to his ways, his paths, his instructions, and his leading.
“Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.” Psalm 25:3
Ephesians 1 tells us who we are in Christ:
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing. Ephesians 1:3
I am chosen, accepted, and beloved. Ephesians 1:4
I am a child of God. Ephesians 1:5
I am redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:7
I am sealed with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
Shame wants us to place our identity in our sin, or even our good works – anything other than what Christ has done and who He says we are. Study Ephesians 1 and use resources like the Defined to lead you to base your identity in Christ alone.
Most men I know have no one regularly speaking into their lives. Their ears aren’t tuned to hear the call of men back to holiness. In the absence of this connection, they have nothing to fall back on in a crisis.
We must become more proactive in building these relationships versus solely reacting to solve the crisis. We want to see good marriages become even stronger, not just failing marriages trying to be saved. We want to see men battling together for sexual integrity, not just supporting a brother after the fallout of a failure.
You can use your experience overcoming sin and shame to disciple another man. He has comforted us so that we can comfort others also.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
Shame is a heavy topic and an even heavier way to live, but no one is too far gone to turn back to Christ.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10
We were dead in sin. He made us alive in Christ. Only He makes us sons; only He restores us.
Perhaps this is why simply turning back seems too easy. We mistakenly believe that there is something we must do, but there was never anything we could do. Jesus paid it all, and all to him we owe.
Our sin is not so great that Jesus’ blood has not covered it. He already knew it would happen. By the immeasurable riches of his grace, our sin doesn’t stop God from the good work that He’s laid out for us. When we get to that place on the path where we keep looking out into the darkness instead of up into the light, we miss what God has for us. Just turn around.