Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith as well as other topics. We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions! Contact me @ChristiGiven.
Join our girl chat forum at ProjectInspired.com/Girl-Talk.
This question came from a girl who feels guilty for not going to church, and wants to still maintain her relationship and make up for that lost time. Click here to read the full post.
How to Walk in Victory, Not Condemnation
Many times in life we can be so hard on ourselves and so many so-called believers walk in condemnation and guilt instead of freedom and victory. “We are free to struggle, we’re not struggling to be free…” as one of my favorite bands, Tenth Avenue North, says. We all have good and bad days, but it’s how we think that will affect our attitudes, thoughts and behavior. If we are truly abiding in Christ, then we are free from habitual sin. When our thoughts are right by reading the Word, our behavior will follow.
When you know your royal identity in Christ and that you are a daughter of the King, you will live victoriously and won’t desire the worldly temptations; rather, you will desire God’s best! (1 Peter 2:9) This takes spiritual maturity and time to learn, but you will see that God’s way is the better way. Choose to walk in victory, not in shame, guilt, condemnation and doubt (Deuteronomy 30:15).
“Hallelujah, we are free to struggle, we’re not struggling to be free, your blood bought and makes us children, children drop your chains and sing…” (Tenth Avenue North song “The Struggle”)
Know the Difference Between Guilt and Conviction from the Spirit
There is a difference between guilt and conviction. Guilt is from the enemy and what we war with, which ends up pulling us down even more into more darkness. Jesus didn’t come into this world to condemn us, but to SAVE US, the scriptures say in the Bible (John 3:17). The enemy wants us to live defeated lives so he can ultimately “steal, kill and destroy…” us believers (John 10:10). We need to recognize that conviction, which is from God, is healthy and is a warning sign from the Holy Spirit that we are going the wrong way. Just like your GPS will redirect you, the Holy Spirit, which lives inside of Christ followers and believers, is the counselor and will guide us into ALL truth.
How Do I Receive the Holy Spirit?
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
If you are wondering, “How do I become a believer and get the Holy Spirit?”, just ask Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Messiah (Messiah means anointed, High Priest, savior) to be Lord over your life. Ask God to help you in your life and believe deep in your heart. Jesus died for your sins on the cross more than 2,000 years ago so you could live in eternity with our heavenly Father (John 3:16). In order to receive the Holy Spirit, we must accept Jesus as Lord and be born again in the Spirit.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
It’s also very important for you to publicly be baptized as an adult. Jesus was baptized as a grown adult, showing us the example (Acts 2:38). The disciples were baptized and God tells us in the “Great Commission” in the Bible (John 3:13-17):
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Overcoming Guilt, Recognizing Truth and Maintaining Your Relationship with Jesus
Back to the question of how to overcome guilt and shame, we need to recognize the source of the voice that is condemning us. Satan is known as the “accuser of the brethren” and we know that in life we wrestle not against humans, but against spiritual principalities (Revelation 12:10, Ephesians 6).
Next, we need to evaluate it and see if the thought, feeling, etc., is aligned with Scripture. For example, if you miss church one week and feel guilty, that is not based on Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible does it say you have to go to church every week to enter into heaven. Yes, it says in Hebrews we shouldn’t forsake gathering together, but God is merciful and understands. If you miss every week, then yes that could distance you from God because it is important to be in fellowship. I am just giving an example where people feel very guilty or condemned. Jesus wants a relationship with us, not religion. God wants us to rest in His perfect love. (1 John 4:18) To respond to the girl who posted in the Girl Talk forum regarding feeling guilty for missing church, you don’t need to condemn yourself. Also, we are commanded also to rest—God even rested, remember? Life is a balance and we need to ask God for wisdom and continue our relationship too outside of church. Amen? 🙂
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
Let’s realize too that we shouldn’t only have a relationship with God in church. We need to maintain a relationship with Christ outside of church. A helpful way to keep up your walk with the Lord is to do just that. Walk with Him daily (daily bread), call on the name of the Lord, ask for wisdom, pray, write in a journal, listen to podcasts, read the Bible, get plugged into a Bible study or youth group and do your part. We can’t expect to have a strong relationship with God if we spend one or two hours a week with the Lord. We should be doing that daily, if not more. Imagine trying to be best friends with someone, but you never call, text or see them. You need to do your part and invest in the relationship. God says when you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you, amen?
Next, if you sin and you feel convicted because you know deep down in your spirit it was wrong, then that is good, but you need to repent sincerely and apologize to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. To repent means to turn 180 degrees away from something. If you say “sorry” and purposely sin, there’s no more forgiveness for that sin because you are willfully disobeying (Hebrews 10:26-27). If you have a true struggle you are trying to overcome, but can’t on your own, ask the Spirit to help you overcome it. It may take time and you may slip and fall, but don’t beat yourself up. God knows your heart genuinely. Once you repent or ask God to help you turn from your issue, accept the Lord’s forgiveness and then move forward. When we ask God for forgiveness, He remembers it no more and washes away our sins. We need to believe in the forgiveness and shed blood of Jesus on the cross, and stop rehearsing in our minds what God already forgave, amen?
God bless you, PI readers! Remember, God loves you so much. He wants to free us from the bondage of sin.
[Images: wisegeek.org; http://naomiruth.com (crown); JHM.org]
PI Girls, how can I be praying for you? I love you all! Remember, Jesus loves you so much.