Recently I have been teaching on the topic of Worthiness that also includes addressing an arch enemy known as Shame. Dr. Brene’ Brown, an expert researcher on the topic of shame, says, “Shame is lethal. Shame is deadly. And we are swimming in it deep.” Shame has a way of undermining our own sense of worthiness and can leave a person convinced that they are unworthy of love and belonging. This is of course not the message we see in the words of Jesus. So rediscovering our own sense of worthiness before God is a major battle ground for many.
Recently, while participating in the corporate praise and worship service at a pastor’s conference, I kept seeing a picture in my mind of a garden hose or outdoor spigot where the water flow was somehow restricted down to a trickle. As I stopped to consider what this meant, my mind flashed between a flow that was once gushing freely, but is now limited to drips and drops. While this was going on, the band was leading a song with the lyric, “Awake, awake, awake my soul…” At the same time, I could see (in my mind) that there were some people who had an obvious frustration and did not feel alive in their souls, unlike the lyric being sung.
As I prayed about his picture, I was reminded of the passage in Luke chapter 6 where Jesus talks about the “the measure we use on others becoming the measure used on us.” The restriction in the flow seemed to be the direct result of unforgiveness, bitterness and/or judgments that had now become “kinks” in the hose, or obstructions causing a limited flow of kingdom resources to dry and arid places. The invitation was to forgive, let go and release judgments made of others. It seemed the restrictions formed as a result of the way we weighed and measured others had now become a restrictions to us. Because of critical or cynical ways of assessing others, we have boxed up and limited their potential.
In a similar way, the joints in a human body can experience restricted mobility and limited function when past injuries have not healed properly and scar tissue forms. The evidence of scar tissue does indicate healing after an injury, but often the thick extra tissue in the joint can becomes a hindrance to experiencing full range of motion. This scar tissue causes stiffness and limitation if it continues to stay immobile. The result is a restricted range of motion that limits the potential of the joint and other body functions. We have to get moving again!
In effect the kinks, boxes and scar tissue have become curses, limitations or restrictions to the generous life flow of God’s Spirit to and through us, and repair is needed. This kind of repair and healing requires an exercising of two fundamentals of our faith: confession and repentance. Confession is simply acknowledging, before God (and sometimes a trusted friend), the places we have been ignorant or wrong. Repenting is allowing God to help us with a change of heart, mind and attitude that leads to a different way of living.
So here are some questions I would like you to prayerfully consider…
Are there people you need to forgive? People who have knowingly or unknowingly caused you injury?
Are you aware of any injuries sustained, bitterness held, words spoken or conclusions made about people that may have become kinks, scar tissue and boxes that now restrict the flow of God’s Spirit in and through your life?
Are there judgments you have made about other people? Maybe you are holding onto a snapshot of their life and assuming that it represents the sum of their life’s motion picture? This judgment may be causing a restriction of the flow of God’s generosity because of ways you are measuring others, and when you make mistakes of your own, your conscience convicts you as well.
If we hold onto any of the above, we will limit the work of God in us, because we are blocking the flow His Spirit through us. He encourages us to free up our own souls and to let God restore a flow, release the limitations or to see a mobility and free range of motion fully realized. I encourage you to press through the discomfort and confess, forgive, repent and let go and may a new measure of God’s generosity restore your potential for receiving and extending the God’s kingdom life to others.
Listen to Pastor Dusty’s message, “Worthiness Extended”