Wednesday, October 16, 2019
I want to continue the thoughts we started yesterday based on God’s command to Isaiah to endure public humiliation for three years.
Isaiah 20:3 Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush…
Recently I asked several people this question – “What would be the most humiliating thing that could happen to you?” I answered my own question first and told them about the occasional dream I have of forgetting to get dressed before going onto the platform of our church to preach. That loosened them up so they would share.
One person said they would be humiliated by losing control of their finances and having to file bankruptcy. Another said they would not want to be accused of a sexual sin and have it made public. Another responded with a fear of developing Tourette’s Syndrome. One person said they didn’t want to experience the humiliation of a public reprimand by their boss at work. Everyone I asked had a fear of some form of humiliation.
Those fears are motivated by a need to protect the perception of other people’s opinion of us. The need for acceptance and approval goes much deeper than we realize, and we may be in denial about how many of our behaviors and activities are the product of those two needs.
As I thought about this yesterday and last night, I realized that we probably have far greater faith in our own ability to accomplish acceptance and approval than we do in God’s ability to keep us safe in the palm of His hand. We place far more emphasis on the avoidance of present pain than we do on the ultimate elimination of pain in God’s eternal glory. We focus intently on trying to make life comfortable when God has told us that the sufferings of today are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us when Jesus appears.
What do we not believe about that? Do we doubt that when we are in His presence His glory will sufficiently remove all memories of past sufferings? Do we not understand that God is telling us that we must suffer in this life as His followers? Can we trust God’s promise that we will experience the fullness of His power in our lives if we are willing to suffer as Jesus did? I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)
The odds of me forgetting to get dressed on a Sunday morning are slim. (When you are done rejoicing, read on.) But the reality is that there are days when I forget – no, I choose intentionally for the purpose of self-preservation – to not get dressed in the clothing of righteousness. There are far too many steps taken in life without the protection of the armor of God. To avoid shame directed at us by people, we choose to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Think about the simple activities of your life. How many of them are controlled by your need for immediate gratification? How many are chosen because they produce an immediate response of acceptance from others? How many of those same choices and activities are a direct denial of the faith you claim to have in Jesus?
Ponder that today, and then choose to do whatever Jesus asks you to do, no matter how publicly demeaning it is. You know your life is a light of God’s glory. Don’t put on shade over His light by choosing to let your own light shine.