Mark 8:38 Ashamed of God

“Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8: 38)

Shame – “a modesty that springs from a sense of proper discernment and behavior.
Ant.: euphraínomai (G2165), to rejoice; euthuméō (G2114), to be merry.” (G1870, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Spiros Zodhiates)

God gave us modesty and an appropriate experience of shame to help us when we think or act in ways that are in opposition to His will and His commandments. A person who lives in relationship to God will feel shame when he or she sins. This is a gift that can quickly lead us into a process of reconciliation with God. Then, how is it that people can be ashamed of God?

Being ashamed of God has its origin in false beliefs. When we believe lies about God, about ourselves, about other people, and the functioning of Satan’s world, then we acquire lie based shame. This is in direct opposition to truth based shame. If I sin and the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin, then the feeling of shame is based in the truth of my sin. This is good, because when I repent, both my sin and my shame will be removed by God. However, if I sin and choose to stay in my sin, despite shame, then I will begin doing things to extinguish my experience of shame and the source of shame. I will substitute other relationships and addictions for a relationship with God and I will eventually deny God’s sovereignty and ultimately even deny God’s existence. I will make up my own rules for living, and try to be happy, despite my sin. To be ashamed of God is to consciously choose sin instead of repentance. It is to choose self-will and Satan’s pleasures over God’s will. It is to choose arrogance over humility.

I so clearly remember living in such a state of shame. As a young person; I spent years thinking about sex and trying to obtain my goal. I cultivated sexual fantasies and justified my thoughts as being OK, because it was my body. When I was about to have sex for the first time, as an unmarried person, I remember the clash between my self-will that said “It’s OK – it’s your body – you’re an adult — you can do whatever you want.” And another voice that firmly said “Listen to me, this is wrong.” I ignored the voice of God that spoke through my conscience, and entered into a period of prolonged separation from God. I never reached the point where I denied the existence of God, but I lived a life in accordance to rules I made up. It is a lie to believe, “it’s my body and my mind, therefore I can do whatever I want with them.”

I eventually began listening to God when my self-created comfort and prosperity began to crumble. Under His conviction, I was shown the truth about my body and what I am free to do with it. I repented, sought God’s help in cleaning up my mind and my behavior. This was all part of an extended period of being reconciled back into God’s care.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for not giving up on me. I pray that the facts of my sinful past can be put to work for the Good of your kingdom. I pray that I will always rejoice in You and greet Your presence in my life with a merry heart.

Lord, to whom can we go? redux

Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8: 38)

As John wrote a few days ago, I, too, no longer feel much of a tinge of shame to mention that I’m a believer, even within my usually very secular work environment. For John, it was the shameful state of the church. (And parenthetically, I have to sound a bit of a note of caution to John that, in the end, he may be disillusioned about the Mennonites as he has in the past about other groups of believers. They–we–can be just as silly and stupid as anyone else buffeted by the world, the flesh and the devil. For example, see this bitter rant).
I, too, have been ashamed of the behavior and beliefs of other people who claim the name of Christ. But I was also worried about my reputation as a scientist or thinker among my colleagues. But in the end, I had to speak as Simon Peter did to Jesus: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (I’ve written about this before). In other words, I’ve found in the person and teachings of Jesus that which gives me life and raison d’etre, not anything in the “adulterous and sinful generation,” whether that’s inside or outside the church. And there’s no shame in that.

I posted this text before, but it’s relevant again today. We even sang it at the monthly Goshen Sacred Harp singing yesterday (led by Karen Bahler):

Jesus, and shall it ever be,
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days.

Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon
Let midnight be ashamed of noon;
‘Tis midnight with my soul till He,
Bright morning star, bids darkness flee.

Ashamed of Jesus, sooner far
Let evening blush to own a star;
He sheds the beams of light divine
O’er this benighted soul of mine.

Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend
On whom my hopes of heav’n depend!
No, when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His name.