Apologetics, Inc.

The Struggle and the Joy in Believing the Truths About Us 

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All of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy. A sense of shame plagues us all. We think that God should not accept us because we haven’t lived up to a standard. Well, I suppose some think they are the standard of perfection, but we won’t deal with them here. For the rest of us, our struggle is one of worthiness. Deep down, we know we are wrong, bad, and deserving of some consequence. And yet, for those of us who read the Bible, we are confronted with the assurance that God is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. We are invited to draw near to God with the confidence that he will not turn us away or forsake us.   

Which reality is the real one? The one we feel or the one that is promised? Are we to live as beggars with our eyes downcast, or can we straighten our backs and walk with heads held high? Which posture reflects what is really real and honors God? 

Living in shame is a mockery of the cross because it demonstrates that we do not believe Jesus’ sacrifice was enough. God has given us good reasons to believe that the joy and peace found in him are true. We have warrant to trust him. I won’t talk about those reasons here, but our entire ministry is dedicated to explaining the evidence that demonstrates the rationality of faith. So, if you have questions, there are plenty of answers. But sometimes, needing an answer isn’t the problem. For many, the problem is trusting an answer we have already been given and found to be true. 

As I read Psalm 27 this morning, I was reminded of the reality that God welcomes us, lets us stay, and offers safety. It is good that I remembered this. It is hard to accept what is real and not choose to live in a fantasy. It’s strange, isn’t it? We choose to live in an imaginary world where shame is our master when we can live in the real one where sin has no power over us. Our failures do not define us. The blood of Jesus does. We just need to remember this truth and live in line with it. 

The believer’s reality is a world in which unworthiness is not a problem. A great price was paid to redeem us. For all who trust in him, our significance is not buried beneath our sins because we have been raised to a new life in Christ. Moreover, all who trust in Jesus will one day hear, “Well done.” The weight of that glory is unimaginable, but this is our future. 

There is some truth to our feelings—we don’t deserve any of this. But it is still ours because Jesus has made us worthy. Let us receive this gift from a God of mercy and choose to live in what is really real. For all who believe, he gives the right to become his children and possess all that comes from being his heirs. It is hard to accept that this is true. But God has given us good reasons to believe that we can trust him with our lives, our hopes, our desires, our fears, and everything else that we are. Let us fight to live in the light of this reality and not be sucked away into the shame-filled darkness of our fantasies. 

This is not a fight we can win on our own. The church helps us. I don’t mean the institution; I mean the family of God. Together, we can remind each other of what is really real and help one another live in a way that honors God for what he has done and who he has made us to be. So, if you’ve been hiding in your shame, step into the light. Let others know of your struggle. In true fellowship, we can experience being known and loved. This is an immense joy—one made possible because God, who knows all, still loves us. We are called to live in this way, to offer friendship to sinners, and to remind them that in Christ, we are made new.  

Picture of Michael C. Sherrard

Michael C. Sherrard

Michael C. Sherrard is the president of Apologetics, Inc., the author of Why You Matter and Relational Apologetics, and faculty at Summit Ministries.

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