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Whose are you?

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. (Ephesians 1:7)

Abundantly free - how many of us live as though we were set free and now live free? Most of us struggle with some form of guilt (because we did something wrong) or shame (because we believe we are bad because we have done wrong). Guilt is meant to drive us to a place of repentance; shame just keeps us believing we will never 'measure up' and will always be lacking in some way. Either way, we are likely not living free if we are given to constant feelings of guilt and shame. 
We are never going to prove our worth in our own efforts. We cannot do all things - reinforcing our shame that we will never 'be enough'. 

We have all sinned - we are all inadequate in and of ourselves. Our 'misdeeds' have both penalties and punishments 'chalked up' as 'demerits' on our chalkboard of score-keeping throughout our lives. We only see the chalk marks - God only sees the blood of Christ that permanently erased the marks. We believe the lie we are not valuable - because we have sin in our lives. We live within the lie - outwardly we live as free, but inwardly we are enslaved to our sense of shame - disgusted by our sinful deeds. To move beyond shame, we need to stop looking ourselves and start looking squarely at Jesus. When we change that focus, we stop seeing our misdeeds as 'demerits' on the board and we see the blood of Jesus that erased them all.

He thought of everything - provided for everything we could possibly need - including our release from the shame we have embraced because of our misdeeds. Shame is part of our identity - we take on the misdeed as something that defines us. Guilt tells us to go to Christ and confess the misdeed, but shame holds onto the misdeed as part of who we are at the core of our being. The truth is quite the opposite - for our identity is defined by whose we are - Christ's first love. Our identity is based in another, not in our actions. Christ reminds us we will never fix the problems of our lives - they were already fixed to the cross by the nails that bound him there on our behalf.

We don't live 'barely free' - we live 'abundantly free'. How? In Christ we are new creations - our identity is changed at the very core. The misdeed's guilt is taken away - the identity we now associate with is HIS identity within us. Stop focusing on the old identity of the sinful man or woman we have been and begin to see the new identity we live within because we have given ourselves to Christ Jesus as his first love. Healing from our shame is only possible as we move from focusing on who we are and what we did; focusing on who he is and what he did. His 'doing' sets us 'abundantly free' - his 'being' sets us 'abundantly free' from our past identity. Just sayin!

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