One of the hardest things for some when they become a Christian is to distinguish between that mandate to "love thy neighbor" and "liking" people. I'll be honest when I was a young Christian I had some real difficulty with understanding if I was "doing it right". Falling in love with Jesus, for me, didn't automatically mean I fell in love with everyone else. I did start to love people in the way Jesus did, praying for their salvation, and witnessing to them about the Gospel, but there were still people that I just didn't care for. These people weren't large in number, but if I'm being honest, it was a few. I fundamentally loved them. I didn't, however, want to be friends with them, or even particularly like them. This gave me great guilt. I struggled almost daily with not liking some people. Over time, and through prayer with the Lord, I realized this was the enemy in disguise. He was using my own humanity against me.
Y'all, I don't want to get into a theological debate here because that's not what this post is about, it's really just about guilt and how Satan uses guilt to control us. If he can keep your mind busy with worry, shame, and guilt, he can effectively take you out of play and make you ineffective in the kingdom. He clearly knows what he's doing, how to do it, and he does it well. Protection from that can only come from one place, Jesus Christ. Because we know that Jesus is the word, being in our bibles is the protection we need from Satan's trickery.
When you have guilt, that is not a feeling of God. God doesn't guilt you, He doesn't have to. The Holy Spirit will convict you if you're in the wrong, and if you're praying regularly, you'll feel and understand conviction right away, but there's more to it and we need to understand that.
Guilt is not from the Holy Spirit, but from Satan. Because guilt and conviction often seem so similar, Satan relies on our own confusion and uncertainty to tear us away from Christ and separate ourselves from His love. Satan is hoping we will embrace guilt, regret, and shame. He wants our emotions to take control so that we are paying more attention to them than we are to the truth of God. If we start listening to emotions and not the truth of God we may feel we are no good, and that we will do the same thing again and nobody is going to forgive us for our mistakes.
Guilt says we are responsible for saving ourselves, and that because we can’t do it, we have no hope. Grace says Jesus has done all that we cannot, and that He is the salvation and hope for all.
Conviction is something actually very different. John 16:8 says, “And when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Conviction is a two-stage process: The Holy Spirit shows you your sin, and He shows you how to turn from it and walk instead in righteousness. No one likes to be reminded of how imperfect they are, so conviction isn't pleasant, but the more we see how undeserving we are, the more grateful we are to our Savior for loving us anyway. So conviction, as unpleasant as it is, is a healthy step to grow closer to God.
The Holy Spirit exposes sin in our lives, not to guilt or shame us, but to change us. You can, therefore, be assured that if you're feeling guilt over sinful behavior, that is not of God, but of Satan. Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable. Grace says that though I am flawed, I am loved. Don't feel guilty for things you've done, instead repent and find healing and forgiveness in Jesus.
It's been a few years y'all. I'm a Christian on a much deeper level than I was a decade ago. I have come a long way, and I love all people, but in fact, there are moments when I meet someone and we just don't jive. It doesn't mean I don't love them with the love of the Lord, it means, we aren't very compatible, and they're not my favorite. In fact, they're not close to my favorite, and I may really not care for them one bit, however it doesn't keep me from loving them, praying for them, and being kind to them. It also no longer guilts me to feel this way because I have exposed the enemy and his plan through scripture and prayer.
I believe Ephesians 6: 10-18 says it best, 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
God couldn't have made things any more clear. Wrap yourself in His word; in Him. He is the only thing that will keep you guilt free and accepting of conviction that will change you to more reflect the glory of God. If you're struggling with guilt today, break free of the chains the enemy is trying to bind you up in. If you're a child of God you don't have any reason to feel guilt, and if you're not, surrender to Him in walk in the light of Jesus. He is our strength, He is light, He is everything.
I hope you were encouraged by today's blog, and I hope you'll share it with your friends if you enjoyed it. Leave me a comment, and a like if you don't mind and we'll talk again tomorrow! Thanks for being here.
Hi I'm Jen, and I'm so glad you're here. I have a passion for Jesus, my family, and connecting with a more simple way of life. I love to write, and enjoy many creative avenues. I look forward to sharing so much with y'all so come back often!
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