I cannot get enough of this wonderful promise:
"There is no fear in
love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that
feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4: 18)
This pefect love is based on the Finished Work of Jesus Christ.
Here is the first part:
"Herein is love, not
that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the
propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10)
Jesus Christ is the propitiation of our sins. He is right now taking away the shame, blame, and infamy of all that we have ever done. Never again do we have to fear that we will invite God's displeasure into our lives. We do not have to live our lives looking over our shoulders fearing for the worst:
conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such
things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13: 5)
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath
chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated
us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the
good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 3-6)
There is so much promised to us in Christ, that I cannot just take one part of those verses. We receive all spiritual blessings, we are presented without blame in God's love. We are adopted as His children, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, and He has accorded us all of His riches. We are accepted, made gracious in the Beloved.
So, the life of the believer no longer centers on what other people think of her, or even what she thinks of herself, but through the love of God she becomes a child of God:
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)
This love is perfected, completed, since God will not send His Son to die again, nor does He have to. The sacrifice was enough, and in Christ we are now made fully righteousness.
In essence, the only reason that we think about ourselves is that we are afraid of getting punished or losing the favor of God. This love, this favor is perfected in our lives, and we are transformed from dead in our trespasses to alive in Christ.
People who are painfully shy are afraid of saying or doing something wrong, and there is a lot of that in the world, but especially so for teenagers. So many rules, so little time, and so many people are not even following them. Quite a frustration!
The answer is to know and believe in the love of God, that all of our sins are paid for, and that He then adopts us as children, with His Spirit within us leading us in what to do, what to say. We look on Him, the righteous One who makes us righteous (Colossians 3: 1-4), so that we no longer look at ourselves, no longer try to measure up to standards that no one can ever meet.
We do not break free by trying to be something that we are not. We cannot break free of ourselves. We need a new, complete and glorious life accorded to us in Christ, and His grace puts in place any shame that man can dish out:
"And he said
unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in
weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the
power of Christ may rest upon me.
take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)
This grace defines and drives every believer (1 Corinthians 15: 10), something that no one has to earn or fight for. When we stop looking at ourselves, our feelings, our anything, and we just receive the righteousness and grace which comes from being a child of God in Christ, then every fear -- fear of rejection, humiliation, lack, loss -- we reign in life (Romans 5: 17) as kings in Christ, the King of kings.