June 5

Real Guilt vs. False Guilt, Part 4

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Satan loves counterfeits. He can’t create; he can only twist, pervert and imitate what God has created. He takes real things and bends them out of shape until they become a destructive mockery of the real thing. Guilt is a real thing, the condition that separated us from God as a race and as individuals. We sinned and became guilty.

So the enemy has twisted it and has offered it back to us in the form of a demonic imitation, a painful parody of the real thing, scorning the work of Jesus on the cross. Satan is saying, “It’s not finished” when Jesus said it was. Satan is saying we have to pay for our sins by continuing to feel guilty after we’ve been forgiven, or we have to fear feeling guilty even if we haven’t done anything wrong. He says we’re not free to do the will of God because he has fanned the dying embers of real guilt into a fire of false guilt.

Yet if we’ve received forgiveness, then it’s only the voice of Satan that would stir up feelings of guilt. Yes, it feels as if we’re speaking to ourselves in this conversation of apparent self-condemnation. But it’s only because our enemy has managed to have his voice sound like ours, and has worked to make us accept that deception. Think of it: Would Jesus ever tell us to feel guilty when He’s removed our guilt? Of course not! So the voice must come from the enemy. We need to face that fact squarely by faith and, to use an old-fashioned word, reckon it to ourselves that God doesn’t speak that way.

What to do? James 4 has the answer: Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. So how do we submit to God here? By saying, yes, Lord, what You say is right, even though I don’t feel it. It’s true anyway because You said so. You gave Your all to have a relationship with me by taking away my guilt and shame. I’m not going to agree with my enemy anymore when he suggests that just because there are left-over feelings of guilt, that I am actually guilty. Or that I am bound by the fear of guilt when I know that You’ve made full provision for taking it away, and that Your will is that Your children walk in liberty.

Prayer: Lord, how quickly I can become inundated with a tidal wave of false guilt. Please show me where the enemy has gained a foothold in my life by fooling me into accepting his accusations as my own voice. I renounce his voice by faith right now, and I accept what Your word says about You, the cross, and how completely forgiven I am in You. Sift through my heart and mind by your Spirit. Correct my thinking and stir my heart to believe Your glorious truth.

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