Pastor's Big Ask | Why Do So Many Christians Live in Shame?

Do You Struggle With Living in Shame Even As A Christian?

James Greer
Oct 10, 2021    22m
Despite knowing that Jesus paid the price for our sins, many of us still live in shame even as a Christian. Sometimes, we let past mistakes and actions condemn us to shame, even when Jesus has taken our shame away. Don't focus on your shame. Instead, focus on Jesus. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Morning, Journey church. Hey, the things our staff will do. Amen? Well, good morning, downstairs. Good morning, upstairs and you online. And a special good morning to my daughter-in-law. It's her birthday, and they're out celebrating. Y'all have fun. Don't get in trouble. No, I mean I'm so blessed as a pastor. As pastor appreciation, I came back and you ought to see my office. They have stacked it up. It's clean. It's got pictures. It's never been that clean in my life. I'm not really very organized. And man, man, preaching when I was gone. They did so good. I mean, Steven, he preached about joy is a choice and, man, and I hope you choose joy. And Steven, he preached on good habits are a gift from God. And habits can make you miserable or motivate you. And then Darrell came in, he said, don't give up, stay planted where you’re at, start sowing in your life, and sow into the church. I mean we are just blessed at Journey Church. Amen? And then today, man, haven’t you had arms in your life you'd done something you just felt guilty and ashamed about? And I think we all have. But you're going to be glad you're here today because we're going to be talking about shame. And shame is ultimately the devil's game. And I want you to stop playing that game. It started in the Garden of Eden. Let me show you some pictures today. I was so blessed this week. We got to go out of town and go to some of the New England states. I want you to see how beautiful it was. Look at some of these. Oh man. And that's the elephant's eyes. Anyway, look at the colors. Can you imagine, this is beautiful but this is nothing compared to what it had to be in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve were there and they all this beauty. But uh oh. There came, the temptation came.

James Greer: [00:01:45] It's the woman did it again, you know? Uh-oh. And there's the women. What are they doing? They're going after the fruit. I stood there and watched. And I'm just as guilty. See, Adam and Eve, see, they were standing there and all started to eat in the Garden of Eden. And really see, the man should have said no. But he went along with her, and they were false. It all started in the Garden of Eden and the devil tempted the woman and the man didn't say no and he gave in. But it ended at the cross. It started in the Garden of Eden, but it ended at the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says looking to Jesus. He's the author and the finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross. But guess what? Despising the shame. Say shame. And He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. I'll be preaching more on that verse later. But Jesus Christ in the blood, He paid at the cross for our shame. In other words, He took to shame, our shame at the cross. See, 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, in Adam, we must all die. Everybody's going to die because we all inherited the sin of Adam. But in the same way in Christ, all of us will be made alive again. I hope you're living alive because of Jesus Christ. Amen? Well, this is the key. This is so important. If you don't get this, you'll continue to live in shame. The absence of shame and guilt in your life is based on what Jesus did, not what you did or did not do. It's real important. The absence of shame and guilt in our life is based on what Jesus did, not what you did or did not do. Don't live in condemnation and don't live in shame.

James Greer: [00:03:42] Romans 8:1 says, there is therefore now. Now what? Now that Jesus Christ died cross and shed His blood and paid the price for our shame. Amen? Now, therefore, now there's no condemnation to those that are in Christ who walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. Jesus Christ, the condemnation, there's no guilty. There's no fear of punishment. There's no shame. There's no disapproval. There's no attack. He said, now therefore, now that Jesus Christ paid the price, your absence of shame is based on Jesus’ performance, not yours. I'm guilty all the time. I do things and sometimes I say things, even at church, I shouldn't say. Yeah. Somebody said no. Yeah. But I'm not based on my performance. It’s based on Jesus’ performance, not mine. You're guilty. Don't be out there so religious. Some of y'all overeat. Man, I overate this week. I had lobster. It was out of this world, man. Some of y’all drink too much. Everybody's looking straight ahead now. Nobody’s even smiling. Some of y’all are lying. Some of y’all looked at the wrong things, and you shouldn't. That’s call pornography. Some of y’all are just lazy. Some of y’all stole. Some of y’all cuss words. Somebody told the truth. Somebody just confessed it. We had one person at the whole church that confessed their sin. The rest of y’all can do it at the end of the service.

James Greer: [00:05:31] So we're all guilty of something. You did that. You should confess it. Amen? But you're free of condemnation and shame because of what Jesus did, not because of what you do. Brother James, that is so good. You should write it down. You should live by it. You should enjoy that. You're free of guilt and condemnation because of what Jesus did, not what you did. Because if you live by what you did, you're going to live in guilt and condemnation all the time. I got a text the other morning. I wrote it down. It 7:13 in the morning. Don't text me at 7:13. But I was up. I was studying. At 7:13, 9/21/21. What’s today? I got a text from someone that said, what if God's punished me because I have not forgiven so-and-so? Immediately, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, as your Father, have I ever punished you? No. I only correct you out of love. My son, Jesus Christ, was punished. He was beaten, humiliated, and put on a cross. I've never punished you. I've only corrected you because I love you. I text back immediately without even thinking. No, God's not punishing us. If you're a Christian, He'll only correct us because He loves us so much. I initialized it and said, oh, Brother James, that's good. I said, if God convicts you of it, confess it. Because there is now, now that I'm in Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation to those that are in Jesus Christ.

James Greer: [00:07:08] My question is, are you in Jesus Christ? If so, stop looking for God to punish you for something you did or did not do. If it's convicting you, why don't you confess it? Why don't we confess our sins? Do you think God does not already know them? Conviction leads to confession which leads to freedom. 1 John 1:9 says, if we confess our sins, He'll forgive us our sins. Remembrance leads to protection. See, there's a difference between conviction and guilt. Conviction is God saying, hey, I want you to confess that sin. Then I'm going to free you of that sin. Say, well, I still remember it. Remembrance is to protect you not to do the same thing again, not to go to the same place, not to get hurt the same way. Guilt, it's from the devil and it's a lie. See, if you've been convicted and you confessed it and you still remember it, that's for your protection. But if you still feel guilty and shame, that's from the devil. It didn't come from God. Amen? You got to know the difference whether it’s conviction, remembrance, or guilt. It's like God asking me a question. Why would you want to live with conviction? Why would you want to live with guilt? Why would you not want to confess your sin if God’s convicts you? The only way you live with guilt, only way you live with shame, if you refuse to confess it and forsake it. No other way. It's self-imposed.

James Greer: [00:08:50] If you're here today and you're watching online, whether you're here, if you're still living in guilt and shame, it’s self-imposed because you refuse to confess it and forsake it. Because God paid the price. He sent His son, Jesus Christ. He shed his blood for you and for me. Condemnation, He says, I don't want you to live in guilt. There's no fear of punishment. There's no shame. There's no disapproval. I'm not attacking you. So stop it. Stop looking for punishment. Stop feeling the shame. God’s Son paid the price. I finally wrote it down. Yes, sir. I was speaking to God. Second, do live and learn that you're in Christ. Stop living in shame but do live and learn that you're in Christ. It says, for those that are in Christ. Enter into the reality that Christ is near to you. He's with you. He's for you. I mean what it says, in Christ means Jesus is not only near you, He's with you, He's for you, and you're a child of God now. You're His children. You're righteous. You're justified. Just as you have never sinned. Isn't that great? We use these words, you’re righteous, you're justified. You're justified because of what Jesus did, not what you did. You're righteous because of what Jesus did, not what you did. Ephesians 1:4 says, according as He hath chosen us in Him.

James Greer: [00:10:17] He's chosen us. You are chosen. You're a chosen child of God. See, shame and condemnation tries to make you feel far away. When you're feeling shame and guilt, you feel I'm not worthy to be God's child. I'm not worthy to be close to God. Can I be a chosen child of God? Yes, you can. When you feel shame and guilt and far away, it's because you're thinking of your righteousness, not Jesus. You're trying to bring your righteousness to the table. God, I'm trying to be righteous. I'm trying to be so good. And you're not, and you never will be. You should confess your sin. You should live the best life you can. But I don't care who you are and what you do, you're still going to sin. You're not close to God. You're not His child because of what you did. You're His child because of what Jesus did. Man, that should cause you not to want to sin, and it should cause you to love God more. Amen? You should draw closer to Him. The absence of shame and guilt in your life is based on what Jesus did, not what you did. Amen? So what if your heart still convicts you? Say, I confessed my sin, I'm trying to get right, my heart still convicts me. Amen. 1 John 3:20, God said, I got a word for you. Guess what?

James Greer: [00:11:36] For if my heart condemns me, God is greater than our heart, and He knows all things. Is that a great verse or what? If my heart convicts me, God's greater than my heart. Is there anything greater than God? No. If you follow your heart, you're going to be heartbroken. Everybody says, just follow your heart, just follow your heart. I’m telling you, don't follow your heart. You follow your heart, you’re going to get in trouble. God's a heart maker, and the devil’s a heartbreaker. You see, your heart will condemn you. God's greater than your heart. See, Jeremiah tells us, in Jeremiah 17:9, He says, the heart is deceitful above all things. It’s desperately wicked. Who can know it? You can't even know. Do you know you can't know your own heart? Did you know your feelings, if you follow your feelings, you'll fail? I, the Lord, He searches the heart. I test the mind. Even to give everything according to his way, according to the fruits of his doing. God says, if you really want to know your heart, check the fruit. How's your fruit life? Not your feeling life. How is your fruit life? Your feelings will get you in trouble. Feelings are based, your feelings aren't based on truth. God's Word is the only truth. If you really want to know how your heart is, you're ready? How's your fruit life? How's your love, joy, and peace? How are people getting saved? How are lives being changed around you? How's your fruit life? So don't let the lie of the devil tell your heart to live in shame and condemnation. Way too many Christians, if you're not a Christian, that's different. But if you're a Christian, don't allow your heart to keep you living in shame and condemnation. Let God's Words set you free today. Another thing, you ready? This is free. I'm not going to charge you any extra. Offering’s already been passed.

James Greer: [00:13:39] Don't let your heart lead you either. Let God's Word lead you. I hope you're getting the leadership lessons every day we send out. If you don't, you need to take your next step card, write on it, and I guess you put your cell number and your carrier and your email, and we'll make sure you get them. But if you're not, you should. But I'm telling you, if you let your heart lead you, you will be sorry. And people grow up and they say, follow your heart, just follow your heart, and that's probably the worst thing you can do. Worst counsel you can give somebody to follow your heart. You follow God's Word. It's the truth, and it cannot lie. Are you ready? Ready? Fourth, Jesus took our shame at the cross. Hebrews 12:2 I love. Looking to Jesus. He's the author and He's the finisher of our faith. He's the beginning, and He’s the end. Who for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross. People say, how can you endure the cross with joy? It wasn't joy of the pain, It wasn’t joy of the humiliation. It wasn't the joy of the sorrow He went through. It was the joy that He was going to set us free. It was the joy that His blood was going to cleanse us of our sins. It was a joy of the result of the cross. It wasn't the joy of the pain. Despising, uh-oh, taking away the shame and He sat down at the right hand and throne of the Father. Do you realize that Jesus, He was put to shame? Do you understand? He was absolutely put to shame. He was naked. He was beaten. He was nailed to a cross. Public humiliation and shame, Jesus was.

James Greer: [00:15:15] Shame is often self-focused. Performance-focused. We need to be Jesus-focused. He's the one that took our shame. He took it at the cross. Despite His shame means like He became shame. Jesus became shame for me and you. He basically was naked and beaten, nailed on a cross publicly. He became shame. Jesus basically looked shame in the eye and said, hey, you’ll have no hold on my children anymore. He was humiliated and stripped. He not only, you ready? He not only took our pain, but He took our shame where it’d no longer have a hold on our children. I mean even at the cross, there was two people on the cross, two thieves on the cross. One of them rejected Him. The other one accepted Him. And immediately, He said, today you'll be with me in paradise. Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father’s throne. In other words, He said, hey, I've overcome guilt, overcame the shame, overcame the condemnation. It was never based on what you and I did. It was based on what I did for you. Man, if you can't fall in love with Jesus, after you see what He did. See, this really and truly should draw you closer to Jesus than you've ever been before when you really understand we all got past guilt and shame and sorrow and things we shouldn't have done. And Jesus steps up and says, hey, I was humiliated. I took your shame. I shed my blood. You've got a brand-new start. You don't have to live that way anymore.

James Greer: [00:17:04] In closing, I want you to know if you're not in Christ, if Jesus not your Savior and Lord, you don't have this wonderful gift and the wonderful privilege to live without shame and guilt. You don't have that. If I was here and I didn't know Jesus as my personal Savior, the first thing I would do in just a moment when I get the invitation, I would make sure that He was my Lord and my Savior. You just simply say that I know I've sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose on the third day. I want Him to come in, forgive me of my sins. I want him to be the Lord of my life. Maybe there's a time you did that, and now you just feel like you've drifted away. Why would you not come and say, hey, Lord, thank you for dying for my sins and thank you for dying for my shame and my guilt. And I just want to come back to you. I love you, and I want to be close to you. Maybe there's some, you just need to confess. Why would you not confess it? Why would you let anything keep you away from God? He loves you anyway. The prodigal son, and he came home after living in a pigpen. The father ran to him and hugged him and gave him a ring and clothed him. He wasn't trying to punish him. He was trying to love on him. I don't care where you've been, don't care what you've done, God's waiting to love on you. He just wants you to come to Him. That's the devil that’s trying to keep you afar from Him. So maybe today you understand that He died and He shed His blood and forgiven you of all your sins. And He wants you to come close to Him. He will still love you. He wants to provide for you. He wants to protect you.

James Greer: [00:18:52] So many Christians today and so many people in the world are so performance oriented. When you really perform, you really do good on work, you really do good on your sports, you get a degree, you feel good. And when you don't, you feel bad. God doesn't love you or accept you based on your performance. Jesus performed. He won. He won on the cross. You don't have to be accepted by your performance. He paid a price for you. Matter of fact, He was in the process. It's God, the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit. They all agreed on creating you. He said, you're fearfully and wonderfully made, and He loves you just like you are. Not whether you perform or not, not whether you make good grades or not. No matter what you look like, no matter what it is. He’s part of creating you. He loves you. But He wants you to accept and love yourself, not to reject yourself, not to be humiliated, not to live in shame. You look the way you do, your intellectual ability the way you do because that's the way God created you. And it's a shame, it's almost a sin not to accept His forgiveness, not to accept yourself. I think some people need to confess that are living in guilt and shame after they've confessed their sin. Listen real close. Because you're almost saying that God's Son’s price was not good enough to pay the price for your sins. It was enough. If you've confessed it, He paid the price. Don't keep living in the guilt and shame. He's not going to come and die again. He already did that. The price was great enough. Conviction, it's to lead to confession. To remember, it's only for your protection. Guilt, if you confess it, it’s only from the devil and it's a lie.

James Greer: [00:20:54] Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, you're a great God. I thank you for your son. Shed His blood. Paid the price for our guilt, for our shame. But God, I feel sorry. If there's anybody in here that doesn't know Him, if they're not in Christ, that today they would come and say, hey, I want to be in Christ. I want Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. For those who came that feel some guilt and some shame, that they would come and they’d confess their sins and they'd be set free today. For those that have confessed their guilt and their shame and they're still feeling guilty and shamed, I expose that, and I bind the devil by the blood of Jesus Christ in His name, and you got to leave them. For those that have been visiting, maybe today's the day they want to join the church. So they can join physically by coming in the front. They can take their next step card and fill it out. For those that have never been publicly baptized or maybe there were as a child and now they say, hey, I need to follow through in public biblical baptism. The death, the burial, and resurrection. I'm not ashamed of Jesus. I want a brand-new start. You just come and say, I want to follow through in baptism. Maybe you need somebody to pray with you and to pray for you. There's just some heavy on your heart. We've got people in the front. They want to pray with you. They want to pray. Listen, you don't have to be ashamed to come to them. In fact, if God's convicting you, I think it's a shame if you don't come to them. Now, I pray whatever God lays upon your heart, that you let Him have His will and His way. And I pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:22:32] On behalf of Pastor James, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning. Man, what an amazing service it was this morning on shame. If y’all need someone to pray with you right now, we have people on standby that are willing to pray with you. But I just hope to see y’all next week as we continue our series, Pastor's Big Ask. Thank you.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360