I have had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home. My dad has been a Pastor my whole life and I was able to grow up in a healthy home and a healthy church. My family was not legalistic at all and my parents were not “helicopter” parents. In my family my parents operated in a way that said, “You have our trust until you break it.” It was both empowering and freeing. Because I grew up in that environment and going to church at least two times a week I had the mind set that I had a very good concept of the Bible and who God was. I mean, come on, I was at church all the time! I was a pretty good kid. I obeyed my parents and we had a good relationship, you know, for being a teenager.
Then I went to college. I was finally in the position that my relationship with the Lord was in my own hands. I was an adult and out from under my parent’s accountability. I quickly began to realize that I had been playing the game of telephone when it came to God and I didn’t really know much about Him. In the game of telephone you sit in a circle and you have one person start by whispering a phrase in the person next to them’s ear and then they whisper to the person next to them and so on until the phrase makes it all the way around the circle. By the end the phrase is usually mixed up and does not even have the same meaning as the original, let alone the same phrase. That was how I felt about that Bible. I had learned Bible stories in church and learned about the characteristics of God at home but didn’t fully understand Him. I knew the “what” but didn’t know the “why.” Therefore, I thought a lot of the “no no’s” were suggestions instead of really being for my best interest. Also, I had heard so much about the loving, gracious side of God that I knew I could ask for forgiveness and I would be ok. What I didn’t realize was that I was worried about where I was going when I die and not about the life I was living while I was alive. The bottom line was, I wanted to go to heaven and as long and that was my end game I was good.
I went to a private college and I found many “Christians” to hang out with. However, because I didn’t fully understand God’s love and desire to protect me I made some bad decisions. I justified my decisions because I was surrounded by other “Christians” who were doing the same things so “it couldn’t have been that bad.” However, I was unhappy and constantly ashamed. I would come home from college and my dad would randomly say to me, “I love you so much. I’m so proud of you.” Inside I would think, “If you really knew who I was you would not feel that way at all.”
The deep pain and constant shame led me to dive into who God really was. I wanted to know why He cared about the things that I did. The filter that I had interpreted God’s love and care for me through said, “He’s keeping secrets from me. He doesn’t want me to know all of this stuff. He wants me to live a different life than everyone else.” I started to realize that’s exactly how Adam and Eve felt in the Garden of Eden. Eve ate of the tree because she wanted to have the same “knowledge” that God had. When Satan said to her, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He was correct. You see Eve saw the situation as God holding out on her. Not allowing her to have all knowledge. However, God was doing it to protect her. He did not want her to know evil. He did not want her to know shame. The moment I decided to go against what God told me to do was the moment I allowed Satan to bring shame into my life. Before, that knowledge was not accessible to me, but now it was. He was protecting me, but I thought He was holding out on me.
Thankfully because of God’s grace He has power over Satan and he can take away shame, guilt, and condemnation. The problem is, now that I have opened that door to the enemy it is something I will have to surrender and, sometimes daily, give over to God. If I would trust Him and not allow that door to be opened I would not have to deal with shame, guilt, condemnation and insecurity about my relationship with the Lord. It is always in our best interest to do things His way. The feelings may go away for a time but new seasons bring about new feelings, new emotions and new things to surrender. Until heaven we will have to fight to have back what we freely gave to the enemy. That is why God, in His mercy, tries to stop us before we give Satan any ground.
If you have given ground to the enemy and are dealing with shame, guilt or condemnation, surrender those feelings to God and allow Him to minister to those areas. As we move forward let’s trust God more so that we do not give any ground, in our lives, to the enemy! Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.