No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening- it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11 NLT)
One of my friends simplified for me the three stages of our journey of salvation, which I found to be extremely profound:
• we are saved as a gift and grace from God, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)
• we are assured of eternal life once we confess Jesus with our lips and believe in our hearts (Romans 10:9, John 3:16)
• the in-between process is sanctification, where we are set apart for God’s purposes.
The sanctification process is hard work and uncomfortable. These are the murky waters where God deals with our issues, processing and pruning, peeling off layer after layer. I don’t know about you, but as for me, this is the stage of my faith walk where I feel like hiding, especially when the Holy Spirit gently exposes bits of me that need to be transformed and renewed.
Instead of running away from my weaknesses, God, and this process, I have concluded that it’s better for me to yield and surrender to the purging, developing, and maturing.
Yes, my faith has a weak pulse many times, but I still pray that God helps my unbelief.
Yes, I still see elements of carnality trying to creep up, but the Holy Spirit is guiding me out of my sinful nature.
Yes, I still have a way to go, but the Holy Spirit is helping me grow in the Spirit’s fruits.
How many of us are hiding from the presence of the Lord because our weaknesses and foibles make us feel naked and exposed and, therefore, ashamed? In Genesis 3:8 b, ‘so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God.’
I refuse to be embarrassed and ashamed before my Father.
I refuse to shy away from the less-than-appropriate bits of me because the Holy Spirit, our Helper, is helping me in my weakness. (Romans 8:26a)
Shame is a tactic the enemy uses to keep you away from the grace and mercy of our Father.
But where can we run to hide from God’s presence? The Psalmist in Psalm 139: 7-12, emphasizing v 7, asks, ‘Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?’
In verse 10, we see a very interesting answer: Even there, Your Hand will lead me, and Your Right Hand will take hold of me, which is a similar response we see in Genesis 3:21, where the Lord made tunics of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. He didn’t leave them uncovered.
Even in the ugly, our shame, our weakness, and our sinful state, as long as we can come clean with God and surrender and yield even our weakness, God’s Hand will still lead us. In His mercy, He will reach out and cover us.
Instead of letting shame and guilt punk you out of the love of God, yield and bless God that He will walk with you through the murky waters.
Decide today that you will not run and hide out of fear and out of shame from your Heavenly Father, who knew you even before you were in your mother’s womb. Nothing about you is a mystery or surprise to Him who formed you.