From Guilt and Shame to Love and Joy
Do you feel guilt and shame as a Christian when you look at your imperfections? Do you feel somehow you just don’t measure up to all you’re supposed to be or do? Are you too busy to spend time in the Word of God because there’s so much to do…and that makes you feel guilt and shame too?
If you feel your Christian beliefs make you feel more shame and guilt over past behavior or your inadequacies or current failures, you’re not alone. Many born again Christians have lost the initial joy and peace of salvation. We corrupt the freedom from the debt of sin by Christ with a feeling of needing to do more for Christ. Where does this need to be doing more come from?
We Have an Enemy Who Wants to Separate Us From God
I’m thinking of a favourite song from the 51st Psalm. We sing one of the lines as “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation”. The fact is we’ve had it all along. The devil doesn’t want us to live in the knowledge or joy of our rightness with God. He keeps telling us about our inadequacies and condemning us for every little wrong we commit or think about. He certainly would like us to be too busy to spend time with God and then add to it by feeling the shame..
Satan’s condemnation keeps us living in guilt and shame no matter how big or small the crime. Thoughts of guilt and shame do not come from God. He paid the highest price to remove the guilt from us and bring us back into fellowship with Him.
Does the Holy Spirit Make You Feel Guilty?
So what about the conviction of sin? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit convict us? Yes, when we need something pointed to that should be removed or changed the Holy Spirit will show us. The Bible also clearly states with NO condemnation.
So What’s the Difference Between Condemnation and Conviction?
Condemnation pronounces you guilty and points the finger of guilt and shame squarely at you. There’s no relief and nothing you do can pardon you. It separates you from God as the thoughts of your sin or just imperfections consume you. No wonder Satan wants us to believe it.
Adam and Eve enjoyed the beautiful fellowship of God in the Garden of Eden until the Serpent convinced them to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They didn’t have any knowledge of their nakedness until then. They enjoyed freedom in their relationship with God and their hearts were pure. The knowledge of good and evil brought guilt, shame, blame and fear into their lives and caused them to hide from God.
Conviction is simply a tool to help us overcome the next thing we need to work on in our lives. As a parent, you lovingly tell your child what he needs to work on and help him to do the work needed to grow and mature. There’s no guilt or shame just the process of growth. You stand by him and love him through the stages.
God has given us the Holy Spirit as our helper in our Christian growth. Becoming more Christ-like is a transformational process. Christ Himself wasn’t born ready to do the job God had placed before Him. He spent 30 years preparing and spending time with God before His ministry began. He was fully human when He came to us and He had to go through the same process of growth we’re asked to follow.
The Bible is clear and Jesus’ own words tell us that He had no divine powers while on Earth. His power came from His Father and we’re told we can have the same power. So what keeps us mired in guilt and shame instead of filled with the power and joy of the Holy Spirit?
Do You Believe That When You were Saved Your Past was Wiped Away?
Salvation is a one time done deal. All your sin is paid for and you can feel free to fellowship directly with God. There’s nothing more to be done by you to earn your position. You’re a child of God. Fully part of His family.
Does this mean your past doesn’t exist? The hurts and jibes from family or friends that built the low self-esteem didn’t happen? Are your weaknesses gone? Of course not.
Trying to forget them or sweep them away will not transform your thoughts nor create the new creature you’ve become. This is a process that takes time. God has promised to give us the rest in His gentle care and fellowship if we’ll choose the responsibility of change. He’ll give us the time and guidance we need if we’ll examine our lives and search for the meaning of our life. Read Matthew 11:28-30 in as many translations and paraphrases as you can.
So Why Do You Feel So Unworthy of His Love?
God has asked us to come clean and get real. There’s work to be done. Not to earn our fellowship and sonship with Him but to work with His help on our inner selves to produce the fruits of His transformation.
God has forgiven us and needs us to forgive ourselves and others.
He’s not looking for abuse ourselves with rules and religion or any other form of spiritual abuse. That comes from the enemy who wants us to stay in guilt and shame. Satan is our accuser. God is our transformer. Click To Tweet
If you are living with Guilt, Shame, or Blame and it’s keeping you from your best life or a Magnificent Marriage, download this free e-guide to help you get back to Love, Joy, and Peace
Let’s Get to Work Using God’s Power to Reclaim Our Joy
If you’ve allowed guilt and shame into your thoughts or maybe never really let go of them, I invite you to join our community of Christian wives who are getting real with themselves and each other.
The first step is to identify the areas of your life that are keeping you from a joy-filled relationship with God.
A recent survey of Christian wives, showed lack of time and organization as their biggest challenges. Most said they wanted more time for personal devotions.
Personal devotions are the time you spend with God. They can be Bible reading, meditating on His Word, prayer, singing and any combination of things that bring you into His presence. Here’s an article I wrote about personal devotions. I’ve been trying to find the consistent time for my own devotions this year without success. I do have consistent devotions as a couple with my husband.
My challenge for all of us, myself included, is to pay careful attention to what’s keeping you from spending time with God. Can you find 15 minutes in your day to be with Him alone?
Is there anything in your day that you don’t need to be doing more than you need to be with God? What busyness can you eliminate?
Do you take time to watch TV? Do you stop for a cup of coffee? What do you do when the kids are napping? Just take time in the next few weeks to be honest about your use of time.
I’ll be doing this too and reporting my findings. Please share your thoughts and discoveries with us in the comments.
The book I referred to in my newsletter is Vikki Burke’s “Some Days You Dance. Finding the Way to Freedom.