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God is Not Ashamed of Us
God knows me completely, inside and out. There are no gaps in His understanding. He is not sentimental. When I look at who I am, and what I am like, I am often ashamed of myself. When I look at God, and what He is like, it is hard to believe that He is not ashamed of me. Maybe you can relate.
These feelings of shame makes it impossible to be close to God. Why follow a God who is ashamed of us? Even though we give him plenty of reasons to be ashamed of us, I'm really glad He doesn't feel that way about me or you. I'm glad He told us in Hebrews how He really feels and why He feels that way.
The "Heroes of the Faith" listed in Hebrews 11 all had two things in common. They were ordinary people with extrordinary faith in their Creator. Their faith in God was proven by their willingness to seek His will for their lives, then choose to do what God called them to. Even their obedience was flawed, but God looked beyond that, and focussed on their faith.
The place that God has prepared for us (and for them) can not be seen, touched, or videotaped. It can only be imagined, believed in, and sought after with our hearts, by deciding to surrender to God on His terms, not ours. God is not ashamed of us, because we have the faith and trust in Him to "Seek first His Kingdom, and His Righteousness", and accept both the privileges and the responsibilities that come with being part of His family.
Jesus is Not Ashamed of Us
"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." Hebrews 2:10-11
Hebrews 11 taught us that God is not ashamed of us, because we focus our faith and our lives on reaching God's eternal, heavenly city (Hebrews 11:13-16). Hebrews 2:10-11 says Jesus is not ashamed to have us in His family. It also says why Jesus is not ashamed of us, and this deeper truth is an important part of being victorious in the spiritual battles of daily life.
When Scripture says Jesus was "made perfect through suffering", it does not mean that He was imperfect or flawed. It means He was "proven genuine", "able to withstand the test", and "equal to the challenge" of living a sin-free life, even while being limited by his flesh and being "tempted in every way, just as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). One of the most important measures of how deeply you love someone is how much you are willing to suffer for that person. The Bible says that God and Jesus both knew the one way they could prove how much They love each person was by what They were willing to suffer to rescue us from the consequences of everything we had done.
Jesus is not ashamed of us, because we have chosen to be a part of His Family. Which family is that? The family that is willing to suffer for righteousness. Jesus knows better than anyone else how hard it is to be righteous in a world filled with temptations and other sinful people. And He appreciates the fact that we are trying to follow Him, imitate Him, and please Him with our lives. He is proud of us and encouraged by our faith. He wants us to know that He is not ashamed of any of us.
And if Jesus is not ashamed of us, should we ever be ashamed of each other? Never! Satan wants us to be ashamed of each other, to have a negative focus on some real or imagined way that some disciple doesn't "measure up". James says this makes us "judges with evil thoughts" (James 2:4). And Paul said, "From now on, I regard no one from a worldly point of view"(2 Corinthians 5:16). We all have important areas of life where we don't measure up. While we are helping each other and getting helped, let's be careful to avoid the traps of self righteousness and worldly attitudes toward each other. Whatever we don't have on straight (yet) is not as significant as what we do: The necessity and incredible opportunity of becoming a brother or sister to Jesus.
I am not ashamed...
"If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." 1 Peter 1:16
"So, you claim to follow a dead Jewish carpenter who was crucified by Roman soldiers? You ought to be ashamed of yourself." I've had people say things like that to me. Others didn't say it, but they were thinking along those lines.
That's the worldly perspective on Jesus. I understand it. So did the Apostle Paul. It used to be his perspective. It used to be mine. Maybe it was yours. We said or thought those things not because we had the right answers to the important questions of life, death, and eternity, but because of our Biblical ignorance. The hypocritcal, confusing, "counterfeit Christianity" that we experienced or knew about convinced us that Christians didn't have good answers, that they didn't even understand the important questions.
Everyone gets tempted to feel "ashamed to proclaim". And everyone, even the Apostle Paul, gives into that temptation sometimes (Ephesians 6:19-20). But the people who made the most impact with their lives overcame that sense of shame a lot more than they gave into it. Here's what we can learn from them: