Believers today face a number of unique challenges where it comes to really reaching out for and achieving success. Religious training has, unfortunately, not done us any favors along these lines… something we’ve talked about repeatedly here. But today I want to bring up one of the challenges that all of us face.

This nasty critter is more fundamental, more universal and more subtle than perhaps any other obstacle we must overcome. It’s one I hate to even name. It’s partly a belief about ourselves (and about God), but it’s better described as a condition that controls us.

What's Holding You Back?

What's Holding You Back?

This one will cause you to second-guess yourself. It will make you feel like a fraud. It will cause you to want to avoid contact with your Father God. It will undermine your faith. It will sideline you.

This controlling condition has weakened the greatest among us. It has aborted dreams, robbed destinies and prevented miracles. You were born with it and so was I. Once in a while someone seems to be more or less immune to it, but most of us suffer silently.

And in the greatest of ironies… it’s already been dealt with.

The condition I’m referring to could most easily be called shame.

We certainly have Adam to thank for this. He entered life without it. All of us since him have been born with it. Jesus whipped it on the cross, but our souls are wired & trained to accept its presence. Efforts to eradicate it from our lives are like getting the car aligned… only to hit a nasty pothole. Again. And again.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine that started a chain reaction. He’d been studying the subject of shame, and like interlocking puzzle pieces it connected right up with some of what I’d been studying. It was truly a pivotal moment.

Since then, it’s as though God has been showing me shame everywhere. And I’ve become convinced that conquering the effects of shame in our lives is not only critical for our own sakes, but it’s being highlighted by God as an area in which He wants to work right now.

Shame is a Thief

Here at Nourish The Dream, we often talk about dreaming big dreams. But if we don’t deal with shame, it’s hard to dream at all. Your “big dream” today might just be surviving. You may find yourself sitting in the ashes of broken dreams… maybe you experienced a foreclosure, a bankruptcy or a business failure. You may have lost a job, lost your marriage or are separated from your children. You may think that dreaming any kind of dream at all right now is out of the question.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. When Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matt 28: 20 NIV) He didn’t mean, “I’m with you unless you goof up.” He is with you. Right now.

And it’s in His great heart today to tell you that He took your shame. You’ve been made righteous. The charges against you haven’t been dropped… He took them Himself. For you. On your behalf. The penalty for your sins and your mistakes has already been paid.

Religion tries to tell you that you have to suffer for your sins & mistakes. But Jesus suffered so you don’t have to. You’ve been placed in complete right standing with the Father today. As with the woman caught in adultery, the only One capable of condemning you is justifying you. He’s releasing you.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter what you haven’t done. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. God’s favor and power to overcome the challenges and obstacles you face is aimed at you today. Jesus earned righteousness so He could give it to you.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17 NKJV)

We’re going to spend more time on this subject in the days ahead… but if you possibly can, take a moment and give this a listen today:

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