For When You're Haunted By Endless Guilt & Shame

If you've done the Christian life for any length of time, it's no big surprise to you that the enemy of our souls prowls around like the ferocious evil beast he is.  

Looking to push our buttons, trip us up, eat us alive, his goal is to render us useless for the victorious kingdom life we've been called to live.  And he'd love to get his merciless hooks into us so deep that we end up completely sidelined, wholly absorbed in the ungodly mess we've made along the way, and distracted from the essential work we've been gifted to do for Christ.

We know he loves to tempt us into falling head over heels into sin, shaking our fists in the face of God as we flagrantly disobey those ten commandments.  The enemy is a vicious liar from the pit of hell and in that role he loves to twist even the loveliest gifts, even just subtly, into something ungodly.

But I believe that two of his big guns are the lies of guilt and shame.  

I'm not talking about the clear cut conviction of the Holy Spirit and the deep remorse that comes when we realize how we have sinned against the One who ransomed us.

I'm talking about the nebulous feelings that come over us like big wet blankets.  The enemy whispers or shouts, depending on his pleasure, hissing in the most evil of tones.  His insidious lies weigh us down, immobilize us, and keep us stuck in a pit that seems to suck us deeper and deeper into self-condemnation and loathing.

We get lost in the ugly mire of woulda / coulda / shoulda's, defining ourselves by everything negative we've ever said or done instead of defining ourselves by our Savior.  We become great big losers in our own eyes, hopelessly fixated on our past screw-ups, weighed down by our accumulation of cumbersome baggage ... instead of focusing on the One who paid the priceless penalty for all our sin.

What a waste of the precious time and energy we've been given.

The more in love we are with God, the quicker we'll be able to discern when the Spirit is clearly putting His powerful finger on specific sins in our lives.  And those are the times we we need to own our stuff.  Experience the remorse, confessing every detail of the choices we've made to the One who longs to see us unshackled.  Ask for and receive the so desperately yearned for forgiveness.  Make amends.

And then be on our way forward.

Free as a bird.  Soaring high.  Doing the work He's called us to do.  Aiming for the heights of heaven's glory.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
- Galatians 5:1