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Don't Be Ashamed

Luke 12:8-9
‘I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. (NIVUK)

Fear of what people may think, say or do, can make us feel ashamed of our Christian convictions - even though we know them to be true, and that the Lord Jesus Christ said He is the only way to be accepted by Father God (John 14:6).  Jesus knew that might be a danger for His disciples (and for us), and so He tells them that, in real relationships, honour is a two-way privilege (Philippians 1:29).

Jesus promises that all those who declare that He is the person who deserves the highest honour, will be declared as honourable people in the courts of heaven - even the angels will be in awe of them.  On the other hand, those who let Jesus down, by saying they have nothing to do with Him and living as though they do not belong to Him, will be shunned by the angels, who are also the 'harvesters' before the judgement.

Those words must have come alive in Peter's mind after he denied the Lord during His trial (Mark 14:66-72): but he was truly repentant and found mercy.  Jesus accepted him again (John 21:15-19) and gave him the task of building up the Early Church.  Whereas Judas Iscariot was full of remorse for what he did, but was not repentant (Matthew 27:1-10).  Those two disciples both heard Jesus.  They both professed to honour Him, but both failed Him.  The difference in the end of their stories is that one repented and the other did not.  

The Apostle Paul started by being disgusted with Jesus but repented.  After that He was not ashamed of Him or the gospel (Romans 1:16).  Although every believer in Jesus would always like to honour Him, we have all failed Him in private and in public.  But there is hope, because forgiveness and restoration is freely available at the cross of Christ, for all who repent.  Having been restored, we need to be much more careful to be clear in public that we belong to Jesus and that He has first claim on our lives.  Today is the day to change the pattern of your spiritual life: honour Jesus in public.  It is an act of repentance: look for an opportunity to lift up the Name of Jesus today.

Loving and most merciful Father. Thank You for giving Jesus the Highest place in Your Kingdom. If that is what You think of Him, how can I do any less in my daily life. Please forgive me when I have been ashamed of Jesus, failing to acknowledge that I belong to Him; or when I have silently condoned my colleagues ridiculing Him, without me standing up for Him. I am so grateful to know that You are willing to forgive and restore me. Please help me to know how best to honour Jesus, and give me the courage to do so, despite the threats of others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams