Home: Where Stories Are Changed
Sacred vs. Shame
Day 1: Begin this week by reading through the Next Steps “Take 5” Questions below. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak truth into you as you consider and answer the questions. Write down your thoughts, responses, and what God is showing you. Use the “Take 5” questions this week as a conversation starter with your family or possibly a close friend.
- Talk about the difference between God’s view of sexuality being sacred and Satan’s attempt to twist it into the realm of shame. In what ways have you seen the impact of shame have an impact upon others? Or upon yourself?
- Discuss the difference between conviction, which is from the Holy Spirit (I feel bad because of what I did); and condemnation, which is from Satan (I am bad because of what I did). Which do you sense to be stronger in your life?
- Is there any secret sexual sin in your life that you need to acknowledge and admit? Will you confess this sin to God today? Will you take the needed steps to find help to live in purity from this day forward? (books, short term group, talk with a friend or pastor)
Day 2: Before the fall, Genesis 2 says that Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. There is an obvious physical aspect to this statement. Can you imagine standing naked in front of another and not feeling shame? Yet, emotionally and spiritually Adam and Eve stood transparent or naked before one another. They felt understood, accepted, close, and vulnerable. By God’s design this kind of intimacy was the context for a sexual relationship. In other words, sexual intimacy results from emotional intimacy. Whether married or not, when have you experienced meaningful emotional intimacy with another person? Why did you feel connected, accepted and vulnerable with your spouse or a close friend? If this is difficult, why do you think you have had trouble with intimacy? Ask God for His insight.
Day 3: In Genesis 3, the story of human history changes forever. In this chapter, the first couple wrote a story that has influenced every story thereafter. Read Genesis 3:1-7. In one impulsive moment, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened. What did they realize immediately? They were naked. What was the first thing they did? They covered themselves. They hid. They experienced brokenness, embarrassment, and confusion for the first time. We see this everywhere today. News and entertainment media seeks to uncover or to expose lies, scandals and deceit. We all can relate to shame. We have all felt shame. How long does it take you to remember a moment of shame? Did you seek to cover up a situation? How did you do that? How did that affect intimacy with any person(s) involved? Shame is the antithesis of intimacy. One will drive the other away. They cannot coexist. God desires intimacy with us. Satan seeks to shame us. Does shame reside in a corner of your heart? If so, bring that to God. He seeks intimacy. Thank God for his pursuit of us.
Day 4: God intends sex to be sacred. In the confines of marriage, the physical act of sex is the result of a relationship of closeness and intimacy. Satan, through our culture, plants subtle and not so subtle messages that we can find sexual fulfillment outside of marriage. For those trapped in that lie, people chase after this illusion of fulfillment. It doesn’t take long for shame to become an ever present companion. Shame seeks to lock us in a box telling us that we are unlovable and unworthy. Yet when we sin, we experience another emotion, a God-given emotion. This emotion is guilt or conviction. The Holy Spirit uses guilt to separate the person from the action. “I have done bad, not I am bad.” God uses guilt to lead us back to intimacy through repentance. When has he used guilt to lead you back to him?
Day 5: During Sunday’s message, Cory challenged us to turn from shame and towards healing. He asked us two personal questions. Is there a sexual sin that has been done to you that you need to acknowledge? Is there a sexual sin done by you that you need to admit? If you haven’t done so, take time to honestly answer these questions. Bring your sin or pain to Jesus, who seeks to heal hurts. This is the first step. God uses people to bring us restoration. He has designed us for community. Do you need to reach out to a trusted friend and to share what you just revealed to Jesus? Maybe it is a pastor or a professional counselor. God is desiring intimacy with you. Don’t let shame hold you back.