Shine Not Shame!

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

I am guessing that you have probably seen a pregnant woman and either said or heard someone else say, “Man she is glowing.” Women who are pregnant often have this glow about them because of the excitement of knowing they will soon be delivering a bundle of joy. Of course when you see them glowing they probably aren’t thinking about the pains of childbirth or the mounds of diapers and late night feedings that are soon to come.

There is a similar look that hopefully you have gotten the opportunity to see also. The one someone has after they have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Words can not express the joy in their hearts and on the endless smile on their face. I have had the privilege of seeing that smile a few times in my life and it is a wonderful thing. If ever a face was radiant it was at that moment when someone accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They understand their sins are forgiven and a new life is given to them. 

The word radiant means to shine or beam. The face of a new born Christian is a great depiction of the reflection we are of the light of the world, Jesus. In that moment of salvation the joy of the Lord comes bubbling up from within us and flows out of us. Our faces shine with a brightness and peace that we have never known before. The sins of our past are now forgiven. We feel clean and renewed. The mistakes of our past have been paid for in full by the blood of Jesus on Calvary. Shame no longer is present as the verse goes on to say.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if things would stay that way? If we could only keep that joy in our heart, that renewed mind, that glowing smile on our face. The problem is it doesn’t last. For some the excitement last a short time and the reality of life starts to weigh them down again. Some reflect that radiant light longer and keep the glow shinning. In time though it seems like the majority of the time the faces of the saved change. Why is that? Where has the joy gone? Why is the light dimmed?

To me the key lies in the first part of the verse, ‘Those who look to Him.’ In that moment of salvation and for some time after that Jesus is our focus. We are totally engrossed with what he has done for us and the change that has accused in us. The problem is over time we start to look away. We start to look at “life.” We start to look at the daily struggles we face. We focus on the stress of our job, our home, our finances, our family and countless other problems we run into. David knew what that was like. 

David had been anointed King although he had not yet ascended to the throne he knew he was God’s chosen and his day would come. However, he had taken his eyes off of that fact. He let the fear of Saul become his focus. Hard not to I am sure when someone is trying to kill you. David knew in his heart though where his strength came from. David knew in his heart where his focus needed to return to. David knew in his heart that God was in control.

When we take our eyes off Jesus the brightness is dimmed. The joy no longer shines through. Our faces no longer reflect the love our Savior has for us. As this begins to happen we may slip farther away for Christ. When we do the Holy Spirit begins to whisper in our hearts. He lets us know that we aren’t living the way that we should. He tugs at our heart strings to show us we aren’t living the way we are called to live. He lets us know that our focus has shifted from the great I Am to the things of this world. We know what we are doing is wrong. We know we have moved away from where we need to be. When this happens and we start to realize it there is a feeling that over comes us, shame. 

I am sure you have felt it, I know I have. When you realize you are not walking the way God has called you to. When you wake up and see you are no longer living the way you did after you first came into fellowship with Him. Floods of guilt and shame roar  in and crash against your heart. How did you get here? When did it happen? How do I go back to the way it was? Sadly many think they can never get there. They let the devils tool of shame make them feel unworthy, unusable, unforgivable. The devil has had a victory. The radiant shine is gone and shame has taken it’s place. 

If you have reached that point or know someone that has you only need to look to Micah 7:18-19 to find the help needed.  The truth we find here says, ‘Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.’ I love the word we find there, again. With God it isn’t a one and done. If it was we would all be in trouble! We can’t do it on our own. We can’t live the way we are supposed to all the time and never mess up. We should strive to! It should be our daily goal but a goal we can not obtain on our own. When we are saved we are washed white as snow We are given a new life in Christ. The problem is we still live in this physical word, in our sinful body.

Because we have the promise of God’s forgives we can always turn back to Him. Even though for a while our focus may shift away and turn to something we know it shouldn’t, even though we may fall back into an old familiar sin there is always hope and forgiveness. We just need to turn and look to Him again. We can’t let the guilt and shame weigh us down. We can’t let the failing of our past keep us from turning back and being what he has called us to be.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Peter. I would love to live a life like Paul, but sadly I would have to say I am more like Peter. Just like he did, I fall down. I mess up. I do the wrong thing. Peter was one of Jesus disciples. He was one of his closest followers. We see Peter do some amazing things, like walk on water! That is so hard to imagine and comprehend. Yet Peter is often known as the one who denied Jesus. Not only did he deny him once, or even twice, Peter did it THREE times! Even after Jesus told him he would do it and Peter pretty much said no way no how! He did it. Think about the shame Peter must have felt as you read Luke 22:59-62 ‘About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.’

Did you catch that? The third time Peter denied Jesus not only did the rooster crow but the Lord turned and looked straight at him! You want to talk about guilt and shame! Peter must have felt it at that moment like we can’t not even begin to imagine. That could have been the end! That could have been the last we heard of Peter, but thank God it wasn’t. I love what we read in Mark 16:5-7As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ I love verse 7, “go, tell his disciples and PETER!” He made sure they knew to tell Peter! I believe God wanted Peter to know he was still loved, wanted, accepted and forgiven! 

If the God of the universe can not only love and forgive Peter for denying Him three times but go on to use Him to help start the church growth we see in Acts, I am sure he can love, forgive and accept you after your short fallings. It is time again to focus on your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Let the joy of your salvation return! Put on the face you put on the day you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior! He loves you as much now as he did then. He always has, He always will. Let your face no longer be covered in shame but let his light shine from you.

Things to Think About

1.) What is your testimony? When and how did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

2.) What are some of the things you remember feeling that day? Do you still feel them today?

3.) Is there something in your life that has brought you guilt in shame? What is it? What do you need to do to turn away from that and focus on Jesus? 

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