Achievement reinforces self-worth

As we have already seen, whether we are successful or not can make a difference to how we feel in any circumstance. There is also a cumulative effect to achievement.

a. The achievement web – Each success or failure adds to a ‘web’ of our other successes or failures, and when one is touched, they all vibrate.

Failure or shame – our sense of failure can get completely out of proportion to the importance of the event.

Success – the more we achieve, the more confident we become.

b. Being content – Although we hope to positively reinforce our self-view by achieving, we cannot get away from the fact that;

If our self-worth is measured by what we can achieve, then our value can be dictated by circumstances.

This is not what the Bible teaches. Our goal should be to emulate Paul in Phil. 4:11

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances because I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

 God aids us – I think what Paul had learnt was to have confidence in God being who God says he is, and therefore acting consistently to aid him.

God enables us – When our focus is on God as the enabler, we do not have to carry all the responsibility of making everything go right. So our failure cannot remove us from His love.

If we feel we have nothing to prove to God, we are released to simply do the best we can. Paul was not living under his own learned and imperfect perception of who God was, and neither should we.

Disarming shame

a. Acceptance by;

God – accepts us totally as we are.
Our father – who may have put limits or provisos on his acceptance of us.

We can learn to disarm the power of shame by becoming aware of our acceptance by God. However this can be a significant challenge, since our view of God’s acceptance can so often be bound up in our experience of acceptance by our own father.

b. Understanding – The understanding we need is that He will never love us any more or less than he does at this moment, and he loves us so much that he allowed Jesus to die so that we could know this. It doesn’t matter that we don’t feel it, the journey out from our brokenness into the full knowledge of his love has to start in our brokenness.


1.    Can I stop shame effecting me?
2.    How much do I try to earn God’s favour?

© Paul Wood