Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is a normal emotion. However, living under a cloud of remorse for no discernible reason is not. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that a person has done wrong and needs to repent. But Satan twists those emotions to imprison men and women: those living in shame are uncertain of God's love and often lack self-confidence.
Good guilt--the Lord's effective tool for prompting repentance--is a gift that helps us find the right path. However, the Devil encourages false guilt, which involves taking responsibility for things outside our control and then suffering self-condemnation for not changing the outcome. This unhealthy type of guilt is also a widespread problem for those in legalistic churches or lifestyles--certain behaviors or thoughts are labeled as wrong, and then people feel ashamed for doing or thinking those things.
Self-condemnation stunts a relationship with Jesus. Instead of enjoying the peace of God, people who are trapped by shame fear His rejection and feel driven to prove their worth. Trust is nearly impossible because they are waiting for God's judgment to rain down. Their guilt even colors how they see themselves: rather than saying, "My action is wrong," they say, "I am bad."
Jesus did not come to accuse or condemn us. Christ restored our souls and made us righteous before God so that our guilt is removed. If our Savior forgave the woman caught in an adulterous relationship, just imagine how ready He is to take your shame away too (John 8:11).
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
The "Good Old Days"
>Hebrews 11:13-16 contains a powerful truth, a perspective I want to encourage you to embrace. These verses are talking about the great heroes of the faith from the Old Testament,
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
These heroes of the faith sought a better homeland. In verse 15 it talks about calling to mind the country from which they had come, but the word country is just added by the translators. It really has the intent of saying if they had constantly thought about from where they had come, there would have been a great temptation to return there.
As you read this passage, it is easy to see why some people struggle so much with past sins. As verse 15 says, Truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
The reason some people constantly struggle with returning to their old life, finding a multitude of opportunities to return, is because they keep calling it to mind. They keep rehearsing the "good old days." Perhaps you struggle with that as well.
If you do, seek to remember the "good old days" as they really were. Don't forget about all the pain. Don't forget about the way you struggled, the reason you came to Christ in the first place. Stop rehearsing the past. If the "good old days" were so good, you would not have gotten saved.
Are You a Growing Christian?
by Adrian Rogers
Are you growing? Here are some ways you can tell.
What do you think about?
One of the first signs that you are growing in Christ is that you think about what Jesus has done on your behalf. You reflect upon it and you praise Him for it. Your sins are forgiven and you’re on your way to heaven. What a glorious thought!
What are you doing with your life?
You’re saved, but you don’t stop there. You develop muscles and become a strong warrior to the glory of God. You become an active member of the Lord’s army. Let me ask you: Is the devil afraid of you? Are you an overcomer or are you overcome?
Are you evangelizing and discipling others?If you are saved and still sitting on the sidelines, shame on you! Indeed, shame on all of us if we’re not exhorting and encouraging one another to lay down our lives to get into active service for our Lord!
A father is one who has children. Do you have any spiritual children? This is a mark of a growing Christian—that you are multiplying yourself (what God did in you) by sharing it with others. When you appear before the throne of God, will you be standing there alone? Or will you be standing with children you have “parented” in Christ?
Do you know why we have so many flabby Christians? They come down the aisle of the church, get baptized, then come Sunday after Sunday and just sit, soak, and sour. They do not exercise. They don’t have daily quiet times; they’re not sharing Christ in their communities and neighborhoods; they’re not ministering in their church.