How Grace Shatters Shame and Sin

Grace quote, teal writing, white background

You might not have recognized me, might even have tried to avoid me, had you met me in my teen years. I was a foul-mouthed, often drunk, angry and self-destructing kid. Then God began reaching deep into my heart, transforming and healing me bit by bit.

But though He shattered my chains of sin and heartache, through His grace, I hadn’t quite learned to step into that freedom. I hadn’t yet learned to live in my new identity—to allow His love and grace, and not my past or my shame to define me.

This was especially true when I behaved not as the redeemed daughter of Christ that I currently am but the bitter and sinful girl I’d once been. In those moments, and the regret that followed, I was tempted to believe that I still was that girl.

But that girl is dead and gone, never to return. For “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, Grace quote with gradiant green backgroundbut Christ who lives in me.” (Phil. 3:12).

No matter how I feel and regardless of the struggles I face, God’s precious, perfect Son lives in me.

I’ve heard it said, all sin is an identity problem. That statement’s too deep, too rich, to unpack here, but when I sin now, as a daughter of Christ, that’s certainly true. I’ve forgotten who I am and who I’m called to be. When I fight for my rights, it’s evidence that I forgot Christ saved me to die—because only in death can I truly live. When financial insecurity or fear of loss stirs ugly behaviors within me, it’s evidence that I’ve lost sight of my position as my Daddy’s girl. I’ve forgotten that I am indeed His child, and that He will indeed provide for me and meet my needs.

When I fight for that promotion, or that project, or that idea, thinking that thing will somehow fulfill me, I’ve forgotten that I’ve already received intimate interaction with the Creator and lover of my soul.

Regardless of whether I’m temporarily stuck in sin or shame, the answer is the same—grace. To meditate on God’s grace deeply and consistently. To regularly take time to remember the price He paid—for me. To contemplate what such an act revealed regarding His heart—for me. And to praise Him for the fact that I truly am free.

When I pause to reflect on the cross of Christ, my gratitude stirs within me a desire to live better. To live fully as the woman He created me to be. To grab hold of that for which Christ grabbed hold of me. (Philippians 3:12).

He died to set me free. I honor Him and the price He paid when I learn to live, daily and deeply, in that freedom.

If you’re struggling to anchor yourself in that place, in your Daddy’s heart, these verses might help:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV).

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1, ESV).

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21-22, ESV).

And make sure to check out our Wholly Loved’s Bible reading plan, available for free on the YouVersion Bible Reading App:

Grace Reading Plan ImageChrist’s grace has the power to change everything. We don’t have to strive, to compete, or compare, or question whether or not we measure up. We’re enough because Christ in us is enough. The cross of Christ sets us free.

I also invite you to listen to my latest podcast episode: Courage to Conquer our Fear of Missing Out. Find it HERE.

 

Making Room for the New Stuff God Has in Store

Do you feel as if you’re continually fighting against negative behavior patterns and attitudes? As we approach a new year, and thus a chance for each of us to begin afresh, my guest today, author and speaker Donna Jones, suggests some ways we can make room for the good God desires to display in our lives.

How to Make Room for the New Stuff God Has in Store for You

By Donna Jones

I tried to look like I wasn’t listening, but truthfully I wanted to hear their conversation.

“I don’t get it. How do you always look so good? What do you do that I don’t?”

Image of a well-dressed woman sitting in a restaurantI stole an inconspicuous peek at the woman who was about to reveal her secret. Yep. She looked good, even in jeans and a t-shirt. It wasn’t that she was stunningly beautiful, so what was it? I strained to hear what she’d say next.

“I live by two simple rules: First, when I want something new, I get rid of something old. Second, when something gets damaged I immediately fix it, or toss it. I never have anything in my closet that’s dated, damaged, or doesn’t flatter me.”

She sounded so wise. So organized. I made a mental note to be more like her.

Two days later I opened our guest room closet–the one where we keep things we don’t use, but aren’t sure we want to get rid of. Suddenly, the well-dressed stranger’s words replayed in my head. I couldn’t deny it; instead of getting rid of my dated and damaged stuff, I simply rearranged them.Image of a cluttered closet

And then it hit me. My closet was a picture of my soul.

I’d try to add kindness, but forget to toss impatience.

I’d try to add love, but neglect to toss pride.

I’d try to add persistence, but refuse to remove distractions.

Even worse, I’d become blind to all the damaged pieces I stuffed tightly into the back corners of my life, much like I stuffed old clothing into my spare closet. Did I immediately fix the causes of my impatience, or address the reasons for my pride? I had to admit I didn’t. No wonder I felt like I could never quite get it together.

Tossing the old before acquiring the new is a habit God’s people practiced long before the well-dressed gal in Starbuck’s did.

Before God brought the Israelites into the land He’d long promised them.

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you’” (Joshua 3:5, NIV).*

Before Jacob, an ancient Hebrew who fled his homeland after deceiving his brother, returned home to be reconciled with his family.

“Jacob told everyone in his household, ‘Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.’” (Genesis 35:2-3 NLT)

Before God’s people could be victorious.

“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. (Joshua 7:13, NLT)

Before first century believers became spiritually mature.

“But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him (Colossians 3:8-10, NLT).*

We’re no different from God’s people in the past. Who among us doesn’t want to claim God’s blessings? Or be reconciled with family? Or overcome defeat? Or grow in spiritual maturity?

God’s pattern is abundantly clear: To grab the new thing God has in store, we must make room for it. We can’t embrace new things if we hoard old things.

Not even in secret.

Is there anything in your life that is dated? Damaged? Doesn’t flatter? If so, it’s time to toss it or fix it, rather than stuff it or mix it.

It’s time to make space for new things to come.

Let’s talk about this! What resonated most with you in Donna’s post? Can you relate to her “closet inventory”? What are some ways you intentionally clean out old, sinful behavior patterns to make room for God’s good to flow in and through you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

Get to Know Donna!

speaker image of Donna JonesDonna Jones is a national speaker and pastor’s wife who travels from coast to coast helping people find the biblical wisdom they need, for the life they want. A self-described Bible explainer, she’s the author of three books, including, Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God and Taming Your Family Zoo, and is a frequent guest on radio shows, including Focus on the Family and HomeWord. Donna finds her greatest joy being mom to her three young adult kids, who frequently sit on her kitchen counter, just to chat. Donna would love to connect with you at www.donnajones.org or on Instagram @donnaajones.

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.