For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. - Philippians 1:20 (NLT)
I love Paul's outlook on life in his letter to the Philippians. He looks back at his entire life and is not ashamed of who he is or what he has done because he finds his identity in Christ.
Sitting in prison after years of preaching the Good News and speaking boldly to others about Christ he takes a moment to reflect on his life's work for Christ.
But this wonderful man was not so wonderful in his past. He was not always a church father, spiritual mentor, and revered preacher to be emulated. He was a man that was feared by every Christian believer.
The idea that Paul can publicly state that he trusts that his "life will bring honor to Christ" after spending years persecuting followers of Christ, separating families, imprisoning Christians, and watching believers die because of their faith is really quite remarkable and miraculous.
It is a level of faith, hope and assurance that only can be realized in absolute submission to Jesus and his work on the cross. Only Christ has the power to make things new. Only Christ has the power to drive our sins as far as the east is from the west. Only through Christ can we begin to feel loved, known, and accepted in a way that allows us to no longer be ashamed.
When I think of my past and the wrongs I have done - the relationships I messed up - the hurt that I have caused others, I sometimes cannot help but feel shame and guilt and I wonder if it is possible to truly say, "I will never be ashamed"?
On my own, I no the answer is No. But when I choose to live life as a follower of Christ, my past is washed away - nailed to the cross - carried deep into the grave and I am given the opportunity to be a new creation.
I'm given the opportunity to believe and experience redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation. And, the more I come to terms with this reality of being made new in Christ, the more boldness I have to live fully for Him each day.
The more respect I have for myself. The more love I have for myself. And this leads me not into a state of self-absorption but rather into a mindset of humbly surrounding my whole life to Christ.
A life lived in obedience to God. A life full of love, grace, and mercy. A life that brings honor to Christ.
Holy Spirit give me the courage and boldness to live for Christ each day. Help me to nail my sins to the cross and leave them for my Savior. Jesus, help me to grow each day in my understanding of what it means to truly live for you. Guide me, teach me, and speak to me. Help me to hear your voice amongst all the noise. Amen.
Questions To Consider:
- Is there an area of your life where you feel shame or guilt that you need to bring to Jesus and accept his grace and forgiveness?
- Does the environment you create at home or at work allow for others to be transparent in their faults without feeling guilt and shame?
Make it a great day!