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If You Only Knew…

The Issue of Vulnerability

He took Peter, James and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. MARK 14:33-34 NLT

Stay here and keep watch with me. MATTHEW 26:38b NLT

He walked away, about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed […] Then an angel appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. LUKE 22:41, 43-45 NLT

You don’t need to be vulnerable with everyone, but you need to be vulnerable with someone.

The Problem of Shame

So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. LUKE 22:54-62 NLT

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. GENESIS 2:25 NLT

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. GENESIS 3:1a NLT

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. GENESIS 3:7 NLT

Shame is the great paralyzer.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. JOHN 21:3 NLT

The Answer is Grace

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead. John 21:4-14 NLT

If shame is the great paralyzer, grace is the great mobilizer.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) EPHESIANS 2:4-5 NLT

Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. ROMANS 3:24 NLT

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

As you enter into a time of reflection, pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and love. Take three deep breaths and give God your full attention. Read Psalm 16. When you read the Psalm, meditate and pray on what comes up when you read statements like: God is a protector; God is good; God's advice helps you to be firm in who you are; God's presence gives you joy. Invite God to heal the times you have experienced hurt as a result of being vulnerable with others. Ask God for wisdom to show you who the safe people are in your life. Who is God encouraging you to share with? What are the steps you can take this next week to follow God and receive the love He has for you? As you close your time, thank God for being a safe place. Praise God for His glory and power to protect you. Enjoy that He is always joyful with you.

Discussion Questions

The following questions are meant to help you practice vulnerability by being real with others. If you’re not currently in a group, experience one at your campus at

  1. Read Mark 14:32–34 NLT. Jesus shows us what vulnerability looks like through his life's example. How can the vulnerability of Jesus play a role in your life?
  2. Your vulnerability invites vulnerability from others. Where have you seen that to be true? What can we do as a group to create a culture of vulnerability?
  3. Shame has been the Enemy’s tool from the beginning. He invites us to sin and then accuses us after we do. How does the Enemy use shame against you?
  4. Grace helps us receive forgiveness and mobilizes us into living empowered, godly lives. God shows us grace in countless different ways through people, scripture, miracles, forgiveness, and much more. How have you experienced God's grace in your life?
  5. NEXT STEPS: During the next week, pray to God for His grace, mercy, and love to fill your life. When you notice shame, or feel God's grace in your heart, journal about it. What do you notice about the ebb and flow of how you process shame and God's grace throughout your week? Take the first step into vulnerability by finding someone this week to share these things with.