Thursday, February 16, 2012

Get Over the Guilt

1 John 3:19-24
19 By this (Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and our response of love) we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

The power guilt has over a believer is often suffocating. It distracts us from our ultimate purpose of seeking God's kingdom and His righteousness.  We often wallow in guilt, allowing our hearts to condemn us over and over again for either an isolated mistake or a habit we are trying to break.  Yet, Scripture gives us comfort.  First John 3:20 reminds us that when our hearts condemn us, we must remember that God is greater than our heart and He knows everything.  This is not a verse of judgment, stating that God can make you feel worse because He is bigger and can remember more of your transgressions because He knows everything.  Rather, it is a verse of comfort. The all-knowing, all-powerful God has extended mercy and love to us through His Son, with the only requirement that we believe and love (1 John 3:24). Therefore, we have no reason to allow our hearts to condemn us when the God of the universe no longer does.

No matter what has happened in the past, or perhaps even what is going on now, there is no reason to let guilt have a strong hold over you.  It is not the life God wants for you.  He has made it possible to become free of that guilt simply by believing in who He is.  God does not want us to cower before Him, but rather to have confidence, because our confidence comes from knowing the Truth.  When we are self-absorbed with guilt, we serve and love for the wrong reasons, and others do not see Christ in us.  However, when we are confident before God, we are focused on Him and love like Him, which allows others to see Him in us.

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