“For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6 TPT).
If you have never done anything wrong and do not have any regrets or shame, then this book is not for you. However, I strongly suspect that all of us have regrets and feel some sense of shame for poor choices. This is a Biblically based book that points the reader to the only true source of victory of sin and shame, Jesus.
This book is valuable because it addresses a topic that all struggle with but is seldom discussed. I have known Carter for several years through his talks at various Iron Sharpens Iron conferences, which are always well attended and well received. Carter is the perfect messenger because of his deep knowledge of Scripture from his years in seminary and as a pastor. The book is also beneficial because it is authentic. At the end of Chapter one, Carter writes, “My qualifications to write this book are twofold: I have outrageously failed in life as my story finally defeated me; but I cried out to God, Who answered me and showed me great and hidden things I did not know (Jeremiah 33:3). This book is about what I learned on that journey.”
The first six chapters are categorized as Dialogue: God’s Plan For Transformation. The first chapter is entitled, Our Stories Begin With Hiding. Just as Adam and Eve covered their shame with fig leaves we and often cover ourselves with a “false self “to cover our shame. The book proceeds with authentic examples from Carter’s life and Scripture to help the reader find freedom.
Carter unpacks Ephesians Chapter 1 to explain six comforting and encourage elements about our relationship with God. We (1) were chosen, (2) are holy and blameless, (3) have been adopted, (4) have redemption, (5) were granted forgiveness, and (6) were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
The final seven chapters are categorized as Strategies: Changing at the Level of Identity. Carter takes the reader on a deep dive to change how we perceive ourselves by understanding who we are and Whose we are. Carter shepherds the reader along the path of God’s grace, God’s Word, and prayer to facilitate a change at the level of identity.
I underlined several sentences and paragraphs in the book. One that particularly resonated with me was, “Every passage in the New Testament about our identity is taught to us personally and privately by the Holy Spirit. If He does not teach us, it will remain as mere words on the page. Now that will preach!
Carter (and all of us) are not defined by our past mistakes. Carter beautifully reveals how He has obtained true and lasting forgiveness for his sins from Jesus and we can too. By yoking up to Jesus, Carter’s past failings are now being used as a powerful, authentic witness to help others. As I read the book my mind would often drift to Luke 4:18 where Jesus reads from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah and announces, “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” I now realize how some people have imprisoned themselves due to shame, have vision but are blind to the promises of love from the Father in Scripture, and are oppressed by a self-created monster of shame due to an inability for self-forgiveness. The book is available at Amazon and will be a blessing for yourself or as a gift to a friend.
Use Cases: Equipping men for spiritual warfare.
Question to Consider: What unresolved shame do I have in my life?
Prayer: Dear God, We all have sinned and fall short of Your glory. Open our ears to hear Your voice. Open our eyes to see ourselves as You see us. Help us to claim our new identity in Christ. Amen.
Recommended and summarized by Todd Shupe