Unashamed. A place in life that we’d like to be, but not willing to do what it takes to attain. Many of us prefer to say that we are unashamed, but this bold proclamation is nothing more than an arrogant statement from an unconvicted and embarrassed heart. In Romans 1:16, we read some of the most convicting words of scripture, yet often these words fall upon the deaf ears of itching congregants.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Note those powerful words, “I am not ashamed”. Such power in his proclamation, such sincerity in his statement, such boldness in his belief. This man, the Apostle Paul, who is writing such convicting words is the very same man who, several years later, would become a martyr. I wonder if Paul knew the full effect of his words at the present time of his writing.
In our pagan society, I also wonder how many of us are willing to stand up and say, “I am not ashamed”. I’m convinced many of us would join the large crowd of believers as we chant in the streets “I am not ashamed”. But oh how quickly and collectively individuals would abandon the faith when faced with physical adversity. We go with the crowd. If there isn’t a crowd, we don’t want to be there. Am I right? Of course I am. It’s human nature. Nothing new, and nothing really recent. It’s always been this way. But crowds can be dangerous. The crowds we often like to blend in with are the same kinds of crowds that shouted “crucify him”, hoping for the execution of the Son of God. Be careful which crowd you allow into your life to influence you.
We seem to be quick to defend our love for sports, even sitting long, hot hours on the bleachers awaiting the victory of our favorite local and professional sports teams. Yet when it comes to the proclamation of the Word of God, we’re checking our watch, slamming the hymnals in the back of the pew, squirming in our seat, and silently praying that the service would end…quickly. We’ve backed in the parking space with the car still running, hoping that it’ll be a quick service so we can tend to the “more important” things of life. I’ve had folks often tell me “I prefer an earlier service at church. It doesn’t split up my whole day”. At this point, we’re not focused on the message, we’re focused on “me”. But “by God I’m a Christian”. My follow up question to such an unconsidered statement is “really?”. I wonder, when we stand before almighty God to give our account, if He’ll look at us and say “you’ve been faithful”. If looking at our watch and attending ball games over worship is God’s idea of faithful, I must have misread the entire Bible many times. Don’t get me wrong, I do love sports. But I do have a problem when sports is the center of our life, and our Lord fits somewhere in the mix…somewhere. Some people’s hearts are like the home of a messy person who rarely expects visitors. “Just come on in and find a place. Move the junk out of the way and sit down”. Instead, we should prepare the way for our Lord to enter in, sit in the loftiest place in our life, and serve Him as an honored guest in all we do.
The hidden key word Paul emphasizes is commitment. How committed are you to God? Is He first place? Second place? Some place? Or is He no place at all? My question that I’d like you to ask yourself is, “Am I willing?”. That’s it. Are you willing? To commit your life to His service? To represent your faith wholeheartedly? To even die for your faith? When we come to the point where our faith means more to us than our own earthly life, it is then we attain such a level of being unashamed. You cannot be unashamed until you are fully committed to your conviction.
Unashamed. That’s where I want to be. I’m not saying that I’ve attained these things, but I’m pressing toward the goal each and every day. What about you?