“Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11
When my oldest daughter was two years old, she and I were playing hide and seek in the walled back yard of our Edinburgh, Scotland home. It was her turn to hide, and she couldn’t find a hiding place as my counting wound down to “ready or not, here I come.” Panicking, she dropped to her knees completely in the open, right in the middle of the enclosed yard, and covered her eyes with her small hands. I have never forgotten that precious sight 41 years ago. Yet it will be much the same for many, many people when the trumpet from heaven sounds throughout the world, in every living ear, ears from every tribe, nation, and language, and the greatest lightning bolt ever will flash from one horizon to the other, around the globe, as Jesus Christ returns, fulfilling his Father’s promise. Only then the stakes will be infinitely greater than a child’s game of hide and seek.
But I am persuaded of a different outcome for you at Jesus’ return. I expect you are ready and will be in welcome anticipation of it, for this very Savior you personally know by your faith. Yet, if you know and believe him, why do you live now as though he hasn’t covered you from guilt and shame? One of the most telling characteristics of fallen human nature is the overwhelming need to “cover” ourselves so the world of people around cannot see all we think, do, or have done, and all which we consider our weaknesses, failures, and warts. We feel the self-appointed pressure to cover the unvarnished truth about ourselves because what we feel we must cover is something we think does not present us in the best light. We are endlessly concerned about how our world or select others see us. What is more, we seek to cover ourselves from the Divine Judge, as if we could; ironically, this is true even of those who think He doesn’t exist or are not really sure He does. There is a drivenness in human nature to “cover up” by our own machinations.
Consequently, we weave a web as our cover, our outward “clothing” to hide things we think will bring shame or embarrassment upon us; Sir Walter Scott saw this when he wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” taken right out of the words of Isaiah 59.
Is there a better way to live our lives than always seeking to cover ourselves? A way which eschews all fears of being “found out?” A way to stop the charade of weaving webs of our own making (Isaiah 59:6)? Living in the freedom of not needing to hide, or cover, or appear other than the truth of the moment ought to be that for which we hunger. What does it take for you to live in such unusual freedom?
I am not talking about the appropriate use of makeup to cover wrinkles, or the proper use of clothes to disguise the waistline, et cetera, but I am speaking of the attempts we make to cover ourselves from embarrassment or shame, embellishing a story to make ourselves look better, fudging the truth to get attention, telling a lie to cover a mistake or failure, searching for an explanation when we simply did not follow through on doing what we said we would.
We are all too aware of our tendencies and of our fear of being embarrassed, put to shame, or appearing less in the eyes of our peers when we desperately want to be thought well of. We have forgotten the benefits of our salvation. The Lord has let us know clearly that he covers us with his righteousness by faith, that his blood atones for our sins, that we are forgiven, we are covered, even those sins yet to be committed. But we do not live as though we believe him. Romans 10:11 reads, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Or Isaiah 54:4, “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth.”
Too often this is interpreted as referring only to the great Day of Judgment, but it refers as well to your life in Christ today. The truth cannot hurt you when you trust in the Lord, when you walk in the light as he is in the light. God sees you and knows you; why not let the world see you as God sees you? His sight counts, theirs doesn’t. But we do not live this way. Living in the integrity of Christ gives us the perspective of truth’s importance and attractiveness. It is the way of genuine humility, not thinking of ourselves as more important than others, and living out Philippians 2 as not only who we ought to be, but who we want to be. A life lived before others in such truth and humility will draw others to our Savior unlike the way of pride.
This is living in the freedom for which we hunger, if only unconsciously. It is what Jesus died to give you. By not accepting what he accomplished for you, your faith is not at work as it ought to be. You are not trusting his promises, those promises he made to all for whom he died, by which you have been adopted into his family.
There is no need to hide when you hear or imagine the confrontation from others of “ready or not, here I come.” The truth will suffice, humility will be your clothing, and if you trust in the Lord, you will not be put to shame speaking the truth. Take full use of your salvation in Christ; you do not need to hide under a covering of your own making. It’s worthless; you are covered by him. Walk humbly in his truth and blossom in the freedom.
“For it is my deep desire and my hope is eagerly that I not be put away to shame at all, but that with perfect boldness, just as I’ve been trying to do, so his honor, so his honor, so his honor may be seen in my body, so his honor may remain in my body, so his honor may be seen in me. For to me to live is Jesus Christ and to die would be so much better, for to me to live is Jesus Christ and to die would be so much better. I may even have to die, so his honor, so his honor, so his honor may be seen in me.”
(Lyrics and music by James Ward)
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