This is a really long entry. Just so you know.
I promised an entry on the two sessions that made a huge impact on me during my week at church camp. If you’re in the mood for a spiritual entry, full of my thoughts and observations, along with a glimpse into the psyche of Jenette, please continue reading. If you’re not… well… maybe my next entry will be more to your liking. Most of the italicized items are direct quotes or direct ideas from Steve Jones or Stephen Manley, the two speakers.
So, the first sermon was about guilt. I have a high guilt complex. It is very easy for me to feel guilty, whether I should or not. So let’s explore what guilt is, and why people like me tend to fall into the trap of “feeling” guilty far too often.
First off, let me state what Satan does with our feelings of guilt. He uses the guilt that we feel to sideline Christians from being effective and active in the spiritual battle. Think about this for a minute. How often do we Christians say to ourselves, “God can’t use me because I have this area of unresolved sin in my life.” What a lie. What an effective lie.
Listen. Guilt is a legal matter, not a feeling matter. Hear that? Guilt is real. It doesn’t matter if you FEEL guilty or not. If you have sinned, you ARE guilty. You feel guilty because you ARE. The world would have us deny those feelings, because they aren’t “good.” But listen again—We have all sinned. We all fall short. We WILL feel guilty if our conscience is working correctly. So guilt is a good thing. But lingering feelings of guilt cause us to feel ineffective. We have to deal with those feelings. In order to deal with those feelings, we have to deal with the circumstances of the guilt.
Listen. When guilt is not dealt with properly, guilty feelings linger. How do you deal with that guilt? We repent. Ooooh, but we are so sneaky about repentance. We “repent” and then keep going on with our life. We don’t produce fruits that are in keeping with repentance. We might say that we feel guilty, we might say that we repent, but what we actually have is false repentance. True repentance means that we change our feelings or behavior. Why can’t we get past those feelings of guilt? It is because we haven’t changed the behavior that was wrong in the first place. True repentance produces the desire to fix what was wrong.
Now. Great to know all of that, right? How does this guilt keep us from being ineffective for God? Not only do we think that we cannot be used because of our sin, our guilt, but we begin to AVOID God. Oh my. We AVOID the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent GOD! What silly children we are. So we avoid Him. We avoid His Word. What a mistake! You see, we avoid these things because we don’t want to FEEL bad. We are afraid of being convicted of our sin. Newsflash. We’ve already been convicted! We really can’t be more convicted than we already are. Ya know? None of us are perfect. But we can be blameless. What’s the difference?
Perfect = God.
Blameless = There is not at this time, any sin between me and You, Father, that I am not willing to confess and address.
Bear with me, please. This topic is sooo exciting to me. I realize that some people just read my blog for entertainment, and that’s fine. But this is such an important issue for me! So please keep going. Keep reading. Keep in mind, I’m NOT throwing stones. If any of you who read my blog knew the FULL story of my life, you’d know I’m not pointing out anyone’s guilt or anything close to that.
Back on track. Now. We’re not perfect, but we can be blameless. In order to be blameless, you must take responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, your feelings and be willing to confess them to God daily. Make sense?
Guilt vs. Shame---- ever think of the difference between the two? Let’s talk for a minute about the difference. Guilt is when you don’t feel good about what you have done. Shame is when you regret who you are. You realize that you are a mess. You realize that you need God to change you. You make the move towards sanctification!
That’s a lost word in our society, I think. Sanctification. If you know me in real life, can you hear me drawing the word out? Sanc.Tifi.Cation. Listen to it. What does it mean? What is this concept of sanctification?
To be sanctified means to be cleansed, to be purified. Guess who does that for us humans? Yep. God. Only He can purify our hearts. And listen to this! NOT ONLY CAN HE GIVE US THE DESIRES OF OUR HEARTS--- HE CAN GIVE YOUR HEART WHAT TO DESIRE! He changes what you want, what you desire.
Ouch. Why on earth should MY heart have to be changed? Isn’t it enough that I’ve given Him my heart? Aren’t I good enough as I am? Why would he accept me into his family if I weren’t good enough already? It isn’t fair! I don’t want to change! I like my life!
---- Any of this sound familiar? These thoughts went through my mind as I was listening and sometimes they still hit me upside the head. But listen to the rest of this. Ready? GO!
Here’s the reality. We didn’t like what was in us or who we are, or else we wouldn’t have turned to God in the first place. Agreed? You weren’t happy with yourself in the first place, were you? So we turn to God. And HE CAN CHANGE IT! But He has to let you know what is in your heart, who you are, so that He can work with you. So sometimes he jostles us. When we are jostled, what comes out of us is what is in us. (Stop thinking about toilet functions, as I was at first ) Sometimes God allows us to be jostled so that He can bring things to our attention so that He can deal with them.
And sometimes that means that we’re going to be convicted of our guilt. Sometimes we are going to be ashamed of who we are. And then we must seek the TRUTH. We must seek HIM daily. We must delve into the Word, because as we spend time with God, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, comes to us.
I used to hate feeling guilty. Those feelings were so often upon me. But now, I’m starting to recognize that feeling guilty means that my conscience is working. And if I’m TRULY guilty (and not just feeling guilty because of some standard that I have set for myself that I cannot meet) then I have an opportunity to seek God in a deeper and more intimate way. So I can’t say that I ENJOY feeling guilty. But I am coming to view it as a chance to find that sin in my life and give it up. I am coming to see that I would rather be shamed than guilty. I would rather that God continually work on the person that I am, so that I could be closer to Him, more in tune with Him.
Wow. Long entry. Sorry.