If only my ways were committed to keeping Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed when I think about all Your commands. 119.5-6
Shame is a powerful emotion. Whether it is something we place upon ourselves, or something others force upon us, shame is a horrible feeling. Worst of all it is something which seems to stick like glue and spread from one part of our life to the next like a wildfire. The Psalmist feels shame when he looks at his life and then looks at the Bible and the life it calls on him to lead. I am sure we all know this feeling.
If only I was more committed!
If only I had more self-control!
If only I hadn’t done those things in the past and enjoyed them!
The list could go on. The problem is that when we look at the commands of God in the Bible, when we look at how He wants us to live and what He wants us to be, we meet a standard which is simply impossible. That is the truth of the matter. We cannot and never in this life will keep the commands of God or live up to His statutes. Sin is always going to hamstring us. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26.41). Even saint Paul would cry out “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7.15)
The Good News is that God became human and lived the life we cannot live. Jesus came and lived among us as one of us. Jesus was tempted but never gave in. Jesus lived a life which was pure, spotless, perfect. Jesus kept all the demands of the law and all the commandment of God. Then, at the end, Jesus took all of our sin and became sin. He took our place, He died the death we deserve, He sacrificed Himself to set us free from our failures. When we put our faith in Jesus and lay down our failed attempts at being righteous He gives us His perfection, His good standing, His purity, His holiness. When we have all this, when we have Jesus, we can say goodbye to shame. When we stumble and fall we can look to Jesus and not our failures. When we look at the Law and see it's impossible demands we can cast our eyes on the cross where He said “it is finished” and know the victory is won. When we begin to feel shame or guilt we can proclaim as that sinner saint Paul did “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8.1)