Feeling embarrassed by your struggle? Here are 7 scriptures to lift up your head
Article By EEW Magazine Editors // Spiritual Food
Do you feel ashamed of your scars and embarrassed by your struggles? Have the things you’re going through left you red-faced, wanting to hide? Don’t you know every single believer has felt that way at one time or another?
Be aware that Satan loves to use shame as a tool of discouragement to make you forget God loves you unconditionally and has a purpose for you— despite the way things seem. If you need a little reminder, here are 7 scriptures (with some extra encouragement thrown in for good measure) to lift up your bowed-down head.
1. Don’t focus on now; focus on next. Hebrews 12:2 GW says, “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God.”
The way Jesus died was viewed as disgraceful, embarrassing, and as something that undermined His deity. But you know what Jesus did? He endured the embarrassment of crucifixion by fixing His gaze upon what was coming next. Being crucified was not the end. Jesus knew He would rise again on the third day with all power in His hand, thereby securing redemption for us, and being elevated to the highest position. Now His name is above every other name (Philippians 2:9-11)! If Jesus had to focus on what was coming next for Him, so do you. Be assured that there will be glory after this.
2. See this as a testimony. In 2 Timothy 1:8 NIV, the Apostle Paul says, “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”
Paul, who suffered greatly for the name of Christ, reminded his protégé Timothy, and all other believers, not to be ashamed of his suffering—or their own. His testimony was intertwined with his trials, and so is yours. Going through hardship is a part of our Christian walk. It in no way undermines the gospel. In fact, suffering illuminates what we read on the pages of scripture. Through the ugly stuff, God’s power works, and His glory is revealed. So be courageous, encouraged, and reliant upon the Lord. While you faithfully go through, and when you come out, your life will testify of both the Lord’s sustaining and delivering power.
3. Be confident that God is working through you. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT says, “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
God’s all-sufficient grace works even when you have insufficient strength to go through. Weakness, vulnerability, pain and suffering, in the natural, bring shame, disappointment, and defeat. But in the Kingdom of God, the opposite is true. Just as Paul realized through his own trouble and trauma that God’s power “works best in weakness,” God wants you to see this truth for yourself. His is working in and through you, using the very thing that embarrasses you. Though God didn’t necessarily do this to you, He will use His power to make it work for you.
4. Know that humiliation is an instrument of exaltation. Matthew 23:12 NLT says, “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Secular thinking says: make yourself appear big and important; strive to look better than you are; and hide all your weak spots. But that’s not biblical. It’s actually a recipe for a rapid downward spiral. Exaltation and promotion comes from the Lord. Whether we like it or not, He uses humiliation as a tool of exaltation. The example of Jesus on the cross proves this to be true. What we see as embarrassing, God sees as a pathway to elevation. God is using this humiliation as a pride killer. Why? Because the less self-important and the more God-reliant you become, God’s glory will be revealed through your life in a greater magnitude. Stay humble. At the right time, God will do the exalting!
5. Remember, you are being conformed into Christ’s image. Isaiah 53:7 NIV says, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
When Jesus walked the earth, He was deity wrapped in humanity. He was an all-powerful King and could have destroyed those who abused and mistreated Him with a snap of His finger. Jesus surely had more than enough power to end His own suffering and affliction, but did not do that. Rather, He silently took the abuse for the sake of His mission: to save the lost. God is teaching and transforming you through this difficult trial so you will be conformed into the image of Christ. When you are like Jesus, you submit to the ego-bruising process, knowing it is not about you; it’s about you becoming more like Jesus, and showcasing His glory.
6. God is setting you up for a turnaround. Read all of Psalm 22, which is known as the “Psalm of the cross.” You’ll see in verse 7 that David said everyone was mocking him, insulting him, and laughing at his calamity. But by the end of the psalm, in verse 22, David declares that all would declare the righteousness of God and say, “He has done it!” This Psalm is also about the Messiah. The laughter and mocking didn’t last long. Jesus got up from the grave! How’s that for a turnaround?
And yours is coming, too. The trouble you see today was not designed to last forever. These storm clouds will go away. Though you may feel like the butt of the joke at the moment, as if your chief adversary, Satan, is laughing at you, God will get the last laugh. He has the final say, and He has a way of turning things in your favor. Rest in knowing, when it is all said and done, the enemy will not triumph over you.
7. God is preparing you for increase. Isaiah 61:7 NIV, which is a promise you should take as your own, says this: “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
Your tears will become joy. Your sorrow will turn into laughter. God will compensate you for your struggle and do as He did for Job, and give you double for your trouble (Job 42:10). On the other side of this, God has more for you. After you have suffered a while, 1 Peter 5:10 promises that God will restore you. Believe Him for your restoration and increase. It’s on the way!
Embarrassment doesn’t feel good and heartache feels even worse. But the good news is trouble won’t last always. God can use everything—even the ugliest, most embarrassing thing—to bring glory to Himself and to show forth His awesome, mighty power through you!