“Too many Christians are more readily aware of the absence of God than they are of the presence of God, and they are more aware of sin than they are of grace.” ~ C.J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness
It's one thing to feel convicted; it's another to become consumed by guilt. The first can spark a Spirit-infused inspiration to change. The latter enslaves us in negative, self-defeating thinking.
Today devotional writer Susan Aken shares the difference and how we can break free from guilt. Read her thoughts then share yours!
Fighting Against Guilt
by Susan Aken
My failures weigh heavy on my soul like a blanket suffocating me. I can’t measure up to anyone. Others are more loving, kind, giving, and joyful. When I observe other Christians, thoughts like these bombard me:
“You’ve wasted so much of your life!”
“You call yourself a Christian; look at all the people you’ve ignored!”
“What do you have to show for yourself?”
“Have you made any progress?”
Overwhelmed with negativity one morning, as I was getting in the car, the song “Greater” by MercyMe came to mind. The lyrics expressing how God, within me, is greater than he who lives in the world, resounded. I turned on the car and those exact lyrics were playing on the radio!
Some would say this was a coincidence but as a believer, I’ve learned when something like this happens, God is giving me a message. Later that day, I shared my struggles with a friend.
She said, “That’s the enemy! God doesn’t talk to us like that.”
A light came on in my heart and I remembered the song. Reading the lyrics, I realized I was under attack. The enemy was filling my heart with accusations! But the blood of Jesus Christ has covered my sin! “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7-8a NIV).
I wish I could say I had victory from then on, but the enemy doesn’t take a vacation. He looks for an opportune time when we let our guard down ... then strikes. He mixes in enough truth to bring us to our knees. It’s true that I struggle with pride, selfishness, laziness, and jealousy. But, I’m no longer under condemnation! The grace of Jesus is always there. When I’m off track, I confess and ask His help. God never prompts me to give up because of my sin.
He calls me to repent and keep going.
The Holy Spirit will convict a specific sin and call us to repent, but He doesn’t oppress us with guilt, a feeling of failure, or condemnation. We need to grieve over sin, but not wallow in gloom. We humble ourselves, confess, and move on in joy.
When you’re attacked, feeling condemned and overwhelmed by your weaknesses, call out to Jesus.
If you feel that conviction, but you’ve never given your heart to Christ, know this truth from Romans 10:9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (NIV).
Once you are His, Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” When we sin, He promises in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Once He cleanses us, our sins are wiped away.
If you’re a believer and feel convicted of sin, confess it and move on. If there’s a sense of condemnation and accusation, that’s the enemy! Resist him! “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV). Meditate on the truth of Scripture. Spend time praising God. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV).
Susan Aken is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church! Visit her online at Soaring With Butterfly Wings and check out her devotional HERE.
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Guilt defeats, discourages, enslaves, and, left unchecked, can completely paralyze us! But God calls us to growth and freedom. John 8:36 says, "So if you Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (NIV).
The trick is learning to live and walk in that freedom!
We want to help you do just that, because when we live wholly loved, everything changes.
Join us for one of our upcoming conferences to learn how to live in God's incredible, freeing love for you. Find out more HERE!
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