A horrible motivator – shame

By Dave Henning / January 24, 2024

“Religion, regardless of the form it takes, often tries to control people through shame as a means of getting them to behave better.  But shame is a horrible motivator and usually has the opposite effect.  Shaming someone into doing the right thing rarely works for long.”- Chip Ingram

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”- John 1:12 (NIV)

As Chip Ingram continues Chapter 8 of Discover Your True Self, he talks about how to break free of all the forces producing the shame we feel.  As a result, Chip turns to three critical approaches embedded in Ephesians 1:15-23.

1.  Receive Christ.  Most significantly, Pastor Ingram notes, receiving Christ provides the first answer to virtually everything in life.  Thus, it’s God’s number one will for us.  Yet, Chip believes, many Christians who begin to embrace biblical truth and teaching still rely on some type of self-improvement program.

However, Chip stresses, the gospel is a rebirth.  Because Jesus didn’t come to make us better.  Rather, Jesus came to make us new!

2.  Ask the Father.  When Paul wanted God’s truths to be real to his readers in Ephesus, he asked.  Paul entered into a deep and meaningful conversation with the Father.

3.  Believe three historical facts.  This passage in Ephesians addresses our past, present, and future.  Therefore, applied to our timeline, we experience progressive freedom from our shame and our fears.  Thus, Chip underscores:

  • Your past no longer defines you.  Paul desired that his readers know the certain hope of their calling.  Hence, do not allow your past to define your identity.  Let your shame come to the surface, be honest about it, and let God work on it.
  • Your future happiness is guaranteed.  While worldly concerns are temporary, your future happiness is forever.  So, none of the struggles and setbacks in our fallen world possible touch the future God has promised you.
  • You possess the incomprehensible power to meet all your present challenges and opportunities.  Even though God’s power may be beyond our comprehension, God’s powers remain available to us.  Because His power dwells inside us.

Today’s question: When have you experienced shame, a horrible motivator, in a church setting?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The currency of God’s kingdom”

About the author

Dave Henning

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