I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago after an awfully long time.
Too embarrassed to admit. *hides face*
I justified my reasons for not going for so long by saying that my teeth don’t look bad. I don’t have cavities. I don’t have pain. I brush. I could do better flossing but does that really matter anyway? Plus, after a while, the shame of having not gone for so long kept me away. That is until my husband made the appointment without my permission. So, I was stuck. Had to go. Had to confront my shame.
Weeks prior to the appointment, I would look at the date on the calendar and feel a knot in my stomach. I was so anxious about the appointment. I would think to myself that since it had been so long, what would they find? Would they be appalled? I forgot to mention that I had two root canals done years ago that I never went back to get the crowns in because it was so expensive. So, I basically have two wholes in my mouth. What would the dentist say about that?
Finally, the day came for my appointment. And you know what? I am glad I went.
I found out things I would never have found out had I let pride in the form of fear and shame keep me away. Though I thought my teeth looked fine from the outside, I found out that because of years of plaque build-up, I would need two installments of cleaning. I found out I needed fillings. I found that I had some decay because I wasn’t brushing my teeth correctly. I found out that my teeth could get shorter (for those who know me, you know how short my teeth already are so I didn’t think this was possible) because of subconscious grinding I do when I am asleep. I found out that flossing really does matter.
But what did I find out mainly?
I found out that I didn’t need to be afraid to go. Going was for the good of my health.
What does this have to do with our walk with God?
Through this experience, God showed me that in the same way I thought I didn’t need to go to the dentist because of what I thought was good from the outside, we can have the same approach to how we live our lives.
You see, it’s easy for us to ignore what is really going on in the inside of us when we think we are good from the outside. Perhaps we have the job we want. The relationships we want. The kind of life we hoped for, but the reality is there is nothing on the outside that can heal the inside. And It’s easier to not want to share with others because of shame or fear. We’ve believed Satan’s lie that we can’t show our weaknesses to one another. We can’t confess our sins and our deepest pain with each other-especially if it doesn’t look like there is anything wrong from the outside. We would rather live in a façade than in freedom.
We buy into the lie that the Gospel isn’t strong enough to do what it does: rid of us from the temptation to run, hide and cover in fear of being known by others.
The Gospel empowers us to do that because it is Christ who first and foremost has taken the shame that our sins could bring so that we can live freely in the reality that though we are fallen, we are redeemed (Colossians 1:13-14). It empowers us to continually live in a state of confession, repentance and obedience to Him and to one another.
If we believe the lies of the enemy, then we will remain in shame for the things we keep to ourselves. And just like I found out how much plaque build up I had in my teeth from years of not doing things properly, we have a build up in our hearts of bitterness and resentment from the things we’ve not confessed to Him and others for years.
We may be smiling on the outside but our hearts could be hardened and rotting on the inside. That’s not how we are called to walk with God. Being conformed to Christ is not an easy process but it is a process that frees us rather than holds us in bondage. It is a process that softens the heart and not hardens it.
Hebrews 3:13 tells us that sin is deceitful. Sin can harden our hearts so we must do something. We must encourage each other daily. As long as it is called today.
Encouraging each other daily means we are in community to be encouraged and to encourage. One of the strategies of the enemy is to isolate us from others. Others who could tell us what we need to hear. Others who are willing to listen to the contents of our hearts and not judge us but help push us to Christ and help restore us. Others who could remind us of the promises of God when we feel ashamed.
Ladies, may we come before the Lord this week and ask Him to reveal the contents of our hearts so that anything that is festering in our hearts can be uprooted. May we find the courage, through the power of the Holy Spirit to confess to one another (James 5:16). May we cling to the truth that we don’t have to run, hide and cover from what the shame the Gospel frees us from.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:Isaiah 1:18
1 John 1:19
Questions to reflect on: