Every Christian has had to deal with guilt at one time or another in their life. The definition of guilt is “responsibility for a crime or doing something bad or wrong; a feeling caused by knowing or thinking you have done something bad or wrong”. Guilt is a necessary emotion that leads us to complete freedom. In fact, guilt is often what leads us to pursue a relationship with God. We feel guilty and we seek peace and forgiveness; in that regard guilt is necessary and works together for the good for those who are called according to His purpose.
Apart from the testing of our faith, we are where we are because we have either trusted God, and in turn, He has trusted us, or we have disobeyed Him, and He is disciplining us. It all comes down to trust and obedience. Discipline is the punishment that fits the crime of disobedience and that goes all the way back to the original sin in the Garden of Eden. The only appropriate response to this state is to repent. From that moment of repentance, you begin to step into true freedom.
TRUE FREEDOM IS THE BLESSING THAT COMES FROM FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness itself is a blessing of God. The original word for blessed is "Barak," and when translated in reference to man it means being "happy" or "favored." This happiness and favor doesn't mean you will be a King like David or Solomon. It doesn't mean you will drive a brand-new Mercedes every year. It doesn't promise you the material pleasures of this world. This "blessed" simply means that God's favor, His blessing, our happiness, and His joy are all available to us. God's kind of happiness is an attainable goal! Many of you may be feeling down, or discouraged, but I am telling you today that if you are a Christian then you are blessed. The joy of the Lord is your strength!
You may be wondering now what you have to be happy about. If you've truly had a change of heart about your sin and have asked God to forgive you; if you've truly made Him Lord of your life, then there ought to be joy in your life. Whether you can feel it or not there is favor on you, you are God's child. Right now, wherever you are reading this, you've got "swagger" and confidence, not because of you, but because of Him! When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior then, as the Psalms say, your transgressions are forgiven and your sins are covered.
TRUE FREEDOM IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
To step into this true freedom, we must understand what sin encompasses and the consequences that follow after it. The passage in Psalms shows us that there are 5 areas where we need forgiveness and God’s grace to cover us:
· Transgressions- Acting as if there is no God
· Sin- Missing out on the true goal in life
· Iniquity- Crookedness of character
· Trespasses- Crossing a line or walking on ground you don't have permission to be on
· Deceit- Laziness or perversion of the spirit.
Walking in any of these puts us in need of forgiveness. Sin distorts the truth, defies God, and it deceives the individual. You cannot fool God. You either love Him or you don't. He is either God or He is not. You cannot make deals with God according to your flesh. It's a long hard road to try and carry the label of "Christian" while knowing in your heart that you are living a lifestyle that stands in opposition to God and His Word. We cannot serve two masters! The guilt becomes overwhelming and brings us to a point that we must confess our sins.
TRUE FREEDOM IS THE JOY WE FIND WHEN OUR SIN IS CONFESSED
Carrying guilt affects your health. Guilt takes away your happiness and robs you from the favor of God. Guilt keeps your life in neutral, unable to move forward. Guilt is a burden that MUST be given over to God. It is important to understand that forgiveness and the removal of guilt are two different things. David, after sinning with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed, knew he could not face her and say, "Well, I asked for forgiveness." Forgiveness is available for all, but sometimes you can't undo what's already been done. You can't change the outcome of a situation, but the awesome thing about it is that God offers to not only forgive our sin, but also the guilt of our sin. I believe that guilt is one of the primary reasons that people stay away from God. He came to this earth not only to forgive your sins but to free you from guilt.
TRUE FREEDOM IS THE PEACE WE FIND WHEN WE FOLLOW GOD’S PLAN
In verses 6-7 of our Psalms passage, we see 3 key steps to take to follow God's plan for each of our lives:
· Prayer– “Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found;..”
· Position– “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble…”
· Praise– “and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Maintaining a healthy prayer life and always seeking His will puts us under His protection. That prayer life activates our position where we rest in Him. From our position, our place of refuge, we lift up songs of praise. Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that a threefold cord is not easily broken. The cord of Prayer, Position, and Praise keeps us moving forward along the path He has set before us.
TRUE FREEDOM IS TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD
Walking in His will, dependent on Him in every area of our life brings genuine freedom. This process begins with trust, is fueled by joy, and results in giving thanks to Him through praise. I urge you today to embrace the freedom Christ offers. He promises to guide us, groom us, guard us, and give to us. No matter where you are today you can choose to accept this freedom. If you are ready to surrender, then take a moment to pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
Forgive me of my sins
Please come into my heart and save me
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit
And use me for Your glory
If you prayed that prayer then you have taken the first, and most critical step, to walking in true freedom. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered." You are forgiven of the guilt of your sins. Embrace your freedom! You are blessed. Let the guilt go!
Are you blessed by the blogs and encouraging words from Pastor Ronnie? Help us continue to deliver help and hope around the world. Your monthly partnership or one time gift makes a big difference. Two exciting ministry opportunities you could help us with are:
1. Mission trip/crusade to Dominican Republic and Haiti in June.
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