Don’t flinch – especially at Christmas!

The wise old pastor in Liverpool, J.C. Ryle, calls us to openly own Christ. I pray none of us flinches in the face of godless men…

We are not to be ashamed to confess Christ before men, and to let others know what He has done for our souls. If we have found peace through His blood and been renewed by His Spirit, we must not shrink from avowing it, on every proper occasion. It is not necessary to blow a trumpet in the streets, and force our experience on everybody’s notice.

All that is required is a willingness to acknowledge Christ as our Master, without flinching from the ridicule or persecution which by so doing we may bring on ourselves. More than this is not required; but less than this ought not to content us. If we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will one day be ashamed of us before His Father and the angels.”

~ J. C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, 101, 102.

Ashamed of Shame itself??

1051_57_59---Spurn-Head-Heritage-Coast_webI am not alone is wondering whatever happened to “shame” as a legitimate (and most useful) aspect of our spiritual life, when rightly called for. Just today Tim Challies wrote online a helpful little post: “Ashamed of Shame Itself.

Here is a quick excerpt; click on the title link (above) for the whole thing….

….shame. It is a tricky concept this, as it may be positive or negative depending on the context. The Bible makes it clear that, in their innocence, before they invited sin into the world, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” Written after the fact and written at a time when people could hardly conceive of nakedness as being anything but shameful, these words are clearly meant to make people think and to consider a world without shame. Shame, after all, in at least one of its forms, is product of guilt. Shame comes about as we realize our guilt or our inadequacy. Shame comes as we compare ourselves to a better standard or even as we compare ourselves to another standard (which is, more often than not, other people). So while it is a product of sin and a necessity only in an imperfect world, it is also a gift, of sorts. Shame is an aspect of God’s common grace that keeps us from expressing ourselves in ways that would otherwise result in serious consequences.

[emphasis added]