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Ahhhhhhhhh! Relief from the Burden of Guilt!

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In my last 2 blogs, I’ve given you 8 steps on how to release your burdens. Now I want to specifically address one type—the most important one—Guilt.

My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. (Ps 38:4)

Did you know there are 2 kinds of guilt? False guilt and good guilt. How can guilt ever be good? We need to first ask, “Where does guilt come from?”

Guilt is the state of having committed a wrong or the feeling that you have.

The fact is we are all guilty before God—even if we’re not aware of it (Rom 3:23). Now there has to be a penalty for that wrongdoing if justice is to be had (Rom 6:23). That penalty was paid by our sinless innocent Savior on the cross. Jesus took our burden of sin and therefore our guilt.

If you have accepted this free gift of eternal life, you are no longer condemned. You have been made right with your holy God. The judgment you deserved was taken care of by Jesus Christ.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps 32:5; see also Is 6:7)

In our key passage of Matthew 11:28-30 we see 2 invitations and 2 types of rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… and you will find rest for your souls….”

The 1st is an invitation to eternal rest—the removal of the judgment of sin. The 2nd  to a rest in the here and now; rest despite the difficulties of life.

When you sin again after being saved (and you will), you will feel guilty. That’s good guilt. It’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit letting you know you are not right with Him; that there’s been a breach in your relationship. To regain that peace all you need to do is to confess with godly sorrow and repent (i.e. commit to not doing it again with all your heart). Then the rest for your soul will return. If you confess with half-heartedness, then don’t expect peace in your heart.

If you still feel guilty after you have sincerely repented of that sin, that is false guilt. A lie from the devil.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:1)

Your guilt, as well as your sin, has been removed. Jesus’s payment was sufficient to cover those sins as well. (1 Pet 3:18)

We need not go around heavy laden with the burden, or guilt, of sin—or any other type of load.

Are you still heavy laden after reading these last few blogs? Then ask yourself:

  • Are you trying to carry the weight alone—without God and others?
  • Are you saying “Here, God, take my burden.” But you haven’t gotten into His yoke; wanting only for Him to wave His magic wand and make it disappear?
  • Are you not willing to change from your old ways; unrepentant of your sins?
  • Are you listening to the lies of Satan?

Examine your heart with the Holy Spirit and He will lead you into all truth and freedom from your burdens no matter what they are.

Ahhhhhhhhh! What a relief!

 

The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

I DARE You… to Pray THIS Prayer!

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It was many years ago. I was just doing some chores around the house, thinking about God, enjoying the sense of His presence. I had had a good quiet time with my Savior that morning, though nothing extraordinary. I hadn’t just come out of any recent rebellion, where I felt the weight and guilt of an unconfessed sin lifted from my shoulders. No. I was simply at rest in my heart, knowing I was right with the Creator of my soul. That’s when the Holy Spirit led me to pray this prayer:

Lord, if You make me aware of me of any sin and I don’t repent immediately, please make me so miserable that I can’t stand it!

I’m sure to some of you, that seems like the craziest thing to pray.

Things we want, life to go smoothly, the removal of a trial, comfort, wisdom, etc.—those are the type of requests we make to our Maker. But asking for misery? That’s preposterous!

May I suggest that it’s a prayer that honors and pleases God.

It shows that you:

  • Have a healthy reverent fear of God.
  • Are humble and submissive.
  • Realize the seriousness of your sin and how it displeases Him; that you want to stop sinning against Him.
  • Have tasted and seen that He is good.
  • Nothing else compares to being right with the Savior of your soul
  • Consider your relationship with Him of utmost importance.

My Lord has never not answered that prayer and I am glad!

Do I like the heaviness of conviction on my soul at the time? Do I enjoy seeing the ugliness of my sin? Silly questions.

However, I have finally come to the place where

I no longer dread the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

In His kindness, He is simply making me aware that I am, or about to go, off course—much like an air traffic controller tells a pilot he’s off course. If he’s off track by just 1 degree, he will not wind up where he wants to land, and possibly end up in disaster. I don’t want that in my Christian walk—and neither do you.

God desires that you and I remain in right fellowship with Him.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Lk 13:34; see also Deut 10:12-16, Deut 30:9-10, Jn 15:9-11, Rev 21:3).

But since our hearts (due to our sinful nature) often deceive us (Jer 17:9), we need Him to point out when we’re not right with Him. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult for me to admit my guilt. How about you? That’s when I need Him to help me repent—hence my prayer: “Lord, make me miserable if I don’t repent.”

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. (2 Cor 7:10)

So I dare you to pray this prayer. And I also promise that you won’t be sorry if you do! 

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Ps 16:11)*

Search me, O God, and know my heart…. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life [i.e. His right path]. (Ps 139:23-24)

 

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

All other Scripture taken from New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Why You Should Consider an Accountability Partner to Overcome a Sinful Habit

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“How are you doing with that ‘issue,’ Angie?  Were you tempted at all this week and how did you handle it?”

What if you heard these words from your friend in whom you confided a deep secret sin? What if you didn’t do so well in resisting and had to admit you failed—again? Would you even admit it?

In your moment of desperate weakness you had told this person of your struggle and inability to overcome a besetting sin; that you were tired of being held captive by it. Now what are you going to do in answer to your friend’s penetrating question?

We often don’t even allow the possibility of such a predicament. We don’t want to risk embarrassment in case we fail (which we typically will). But hidden sin loves to continue hiding. Exposing that sin honestly before God and another soul will increase your ability to overcome it. It’s a proven fact. Successful programs like AA or Celebrate Recovery all have an accountability aspect.

Hiding sin gives it power over you.  Revealing sin gives you power over it.

Conceding we have a problem is the 1st step toward victory. You may not always need to divulge a sin to someone else, but you must at least admit it to God and yourself.

It takes courage to acknowledge you need help. It shows you are serious about repenting. May I suggest that it isn’t in a moment of weakness but of strength (Holy Spirit’s strength) which leads one to seek aid from another?

The enemy is too strong for us. At times we need another person to come alongside and help us—to hold us accountable as an extra measure to overpower a strong sin issue.

Satan uses shame and embarrassment as a tactic to keep our sin in the dark; but we can turn that humiliation around and use it as an advantage instead! Here’s how:

Picture what it would be like when your accountability partner asks you how you did this week.

  • If you sinned, consider the shame and embarrassment you would feel. (You could deny it, but that only adds additional guilt.)
  • If you didn’t give in to sin, imagine receiving the immediate accolades for being faithful. You and your confidant would rejoice together at the victory God gave you!

Having an accountability partner has additional benefits:

  • Knowing that someone is praying specifically for you really helps in the heat of a temptation moment.
  • Someone to call/text for immediate help in resisting. (But please call on Jesus first)
  • If/when you fail they can help you figure out why. They may be able to see the sneaky devil’s tactics better than you, and suggest specific truths to defeat the enemy.

Like it or not, we believers are in a battle with darkness. And we are not to fight alone! We need each other.

Get open and honest with a trusted and strong fellow soldier. Getting free from the clutches of sin is around the corner as you enlist their help.

…Standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith… (Phil 1:27)

Photo by Ben White Unsplash 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.

12 Ways to Increase Your DESIRE to Stop Sinning

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“I want to stop sinning!” 

Do you really? 

Habitual sin is very difficult to stop. One of the biggest reasons for failure is because we don’t want it bad enough. We need a strong desire to break those strongholds.

In order to do that we need to consider:

The ramifications of doing that sin and of resisting that sin.

How will committing, or not committing, that sin affect your state of mind, relationships, health, ministry, job, future …?

We never sin in a vacuum. Our sin has an impact on others, and so does our resisting sin.

Here are 12 ways to increase your wanting to stop:

1. Consider the cost Jesus had to pay to redeem your soul from hell.

2. Contemplate on the infinite love God has for you.

3. Think how much sin grieves the heart of your Savior; how much it hurts His heart.

Picture Jesus Christ hanging on the cross for the sin you are about to commit.

4. Do not detach your sin from Christ, i.e. that it has no effect on Him.

As a believer you are united with Christ, inseparable. When you are watching that R-rated movie, or over indulging in a meal, Jesus is with you.

5. Fear the Lord (in a healthy way).

All sin, tiny to horrendous, is a serious violation against your Holy God. If you are a true Christian, there is no fear of judgment (1 Jn 4:18), but God cannot wink at sin. His just character will not allow that. There will be consequences here and/or loss of rewards in heaven.

6. Learn to hate your sin.

Sin is disgusting and vile to God! If only we could see sin in its true light, we would sin less! When we hear or see atrocities done against someone don’t our hearts cringe? Our inner man cries out for justice.

Now there are different levels of evil, but all sin is horrific to our pure and holy God. You and I have to stop thinking “I’m not so bad.” That’s just another disguised tactic of Satan.

7. Ponder on the horrors of hell, and the splendors of heaven which will lead you to sheer gratitude for God’s mercy and grace.

8. Picture the smile on Jesus’ face as you resist that temptation!

9. Not sinning shows agape love to God. (Jn 15:9-10)

Think: “I agape love You, Lord. I choose to lay my desire down as a sacrifice to You.”

10. Think how much joy and peace you will lose or gain; of those horrible guilt feelings when you sin.

11. Reflect on your rewards in heaven.

These words: “Well done, good and faithful servant…. Come and share your master’s happiness!” will motivate you not to give in (Mat 25:21).

12. Consider the loss or gain of intimacy with God.

The Lord cannot draw near to you when you are willfully sinning.

*****

You could probably think of more reasons—I certainly can.

I challenge you to contemplate on 2-3 of these reasons. When you do you will think twice before you give into that temptation.

And your Savior will be smiling—I guarantee it!

 

Would you please let me know in the comment section which of these motivate you the most and if you have any other reasons that would benefit our readers?

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

7 Tips to Help You Break that Sinful Cycle!

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Ever find yourself in this vicious cycle?

Why even bother confessing?! You know you’re only going to fall again. How many times will God forgive the same wrongdoing?

Of course, God will not leave you in this state of unrepentance. He will apply pressure in the way of conviction and difficulties to woo you back into a right relationship with Him. The more you resist, the more miserable you will be—at least that has been my experience.

Perhaps you have asked as I have:

“But why can’t I stop sinning? I don’t want to sin. Why do I criticize my husband? Why do I complain when things don’t go my way? Why do I get so flustered when inconvenienced? Why can’t I forgive when people hurt me? Why can’t I stop ____?”

In short, why do you and I keep sinning against the One and ones we love?

As mentioned in my last blog we don’t have to sin; we have a choice. Here are some tips to help you kick that sin habit.

1. Desire it. This is the biggest key in doing anything that is difficult.

As the old adage says: Where there’s a will there’s a way! If you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it. [Stay tuned for my next blog on increasing your motivation not to sin.]

2. Understand God is on your side.

God wants you to stop sinning and therefore will help you!

3. Get specific truths from God’s Word to address your specific issue. (I might sound like a broken record about getting specific, but it is vital!)

You must get to the root cause of your sin, which usually stems from pride or incorrect thinking. For example, if you are often grumbling and complaining, then do a Bible study on contentment and finding your satisfaction in Christ alone. Ask the Lord for the reasons why you are discontented and the truths to overcome them.

If you are losing your temper and hurting others with your words, then evaluate what circumstances trigger that anger, and the biblical truths that will set you free.

Trust God to help you in this process.

4. Decide to apply those truths at the very next opportunity. Remember to do it in His strength.

5. When (not if) you fail, repent and resolve to keep persevering. Evaluate why you failed. Thank God for His mercy and patience.

6. Get accountability. If you are consistently losing the battle, lay aside your pride and get someone to hold you accountable.

7. Thank God for every victory, because He was the one who made it possible.

I have used these principles to overcome many issues in my life. It works, because God’s truths never fail!

He holds victory in store for the upright…. (Pr 2:7)

No matter what habitual sin has you trapped in a vicious cycle you can experience victory in increasing manner. Get serious and ask the Lord for His enabling.

God wants you to break that sin cycle so you won’t break fellowship with Him.

He instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Ps 25:8-9)

 

All Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

 

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