Revival happens when people live fully in the presence of God. It follows that anything that gets in the way of that one thing could be a ploy of the enemy. Humanity was made to be fully aware of God; our intended state of being was to remain fully in his presence.
Shame is a tool of the enemy: like him, it steals, kills and destroys. He wants us to experience that same thing that happened to him – he was removed from the Presence, and uses shame to try to remove us from the Presence. Shame causes us to hide. In Genesis 3, we read about the fall of man. Adam & Eve eat the fruit and hide themselves from the Presence of God. Their sin causes them to try to hide from the All-Seeing One in shame, and humanity has been trying to avoid the face of God ever since.
The enemy perverts healthy things. We are designed to know what will keep us out of the Presence – we call it conscience. Our conscience, when healthy, provides a warning, like a light on our car dashboard that indicates when something is amiss. But if our conscience is vulnerable to the deceiver through the unhealed wounds of life, it can become a snare that keeps hold of us. Instead of sending us into the Presence, it keeps us out. This is shame. Shame, if left unchecked, can take root and become a core part of our identity. It creates a false identity that affects our perception, keeping us a prisoner in our mind. If we feel ‘less than’ or second class, that is shame. It is a thief – it affects everything about us. It means we don’t value ourselves. We don’t value what we carry. We don’t know who we are when we walk into the room. We won’t fully pick up our assignment. We won’t be equipped because we won’t believe we are worthy. But that is not who we are – we’re sons and daughters of the King. Shame would have us think we are anything but these things.
Shame grows in the soil of comparison. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the lie they believed was that they could be like God. They saw God, saw the difference between them and him, and compared. Not being happy with the conclusion of their comparison, they sought to become someone they were not. Comparison leads to dishonouring of self, feelings of inadequacy, and low self-worth – all seeds of shame. Eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil seemed to introduce a scale in humanity’s mind: a scale of evil to good. We’ve been putting ourselves on that scale ever since, in the form of comparison. We look at those around us and say to ourselves “I’m here, they are there.” Oftentimes it is a negative comparison too, whereby we come out less – less than the good God has made us to be. Have you noticed that we always lose every argument of shame? Shame keeps us in a prison of our own perception; it keeps us in an identity of what we do defining us. Then what we do becomes second-class as we compare, which subtly shifts to us feeling second-class.
Shame keeps us from God, from others and from ourselves. All the resources we need for breakthrough – those in God, others and ourselves – are hidden away from us. It blocks us from the love, the keys, and the answers available to us. The irony is that shame presents itself as a hiding place but in reality it is a lie of false safety because of the slavery it leads us into.
Thankfully, Christ died for our shame. He declared over us a new identity. In my next post, I will look at heaven’s answer: God’s kingdom payback for shame.