It use to be that if you heard a sermon that hit too close to home you'd say it was like the preacher was reading your mail.
In this case, it's like the preacher was reading my blog.
Last night the speaker apparently read my blog, then came to church and spoke to me.
He said that people believe God has the power to do stuff... we have faith for that - we just don't believe He'll do it for us. Does that sound familiar? That's because I wrote it back in "Where are the miracles?"
Then he tried to dissect the reason we don't believe He will do stuff, and at least to my ears, the main reason He hit was Shame. Does that sound familiar? "My Confession"
It's too easy to remember who you were, and to let those things hold onto you. It's easy to see who you see yourself to be in all your messy shame and guilt and lack of measuring up. It's incredibly hard to see yourself as the person that God thought could help children, or minister in a church, or change the way a company does business.
When we look into the mirror, we see the old man. Because the new man is an inner change typically. We can't see the newness on the outer layer typically. But, when God looks at us, He - somehow despite our messy sins - sees the new man.
It's pretty hard for me to see that though. And that's why I only feel qualified to do the things the old man can do. Cause it seems like that's who I'm working with.
But it ain't.
My pastor yesterday morning was reading from 1 Corinthians 15. He was reading somewhere else in it, but while he was getting to where he wanted I was looking at the verses and one really stood out to me. It was 1 Cor. 15:34
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
I found it a challenging verse because people are usually so sympathetic, so kind about you not living up to what God wants you to be. They accept that you're failing, or making mistakes, or whatnot, because they don't want to appear to have judged you (heaven forbid!) or for a myriad of other reasons.
But here, Paul says AWAKE. Sleeping is necessary, but if you're asleep during a moment when someone expects you to be awake it's typically not a good thing. So Paul says WAKE UP, wake up to righteousness - and then he tells us that people don't have knowledge of God and that is to our shame.
I can keep on sleeping, saying that I can't do such and such, or get past the past or let go of my fears. But those are the things that are holding me back from giving people the knowledge of God. I speak that to my own shame.
So maybe no one else will be bold enough to tell you to let go of the past because people are dying without God - but maybe you'll be bold enough to tell yourself. Shame on us. Wake up.