What keeps us from entering God’s promised land for our lives?
Often, they are self-imposed limitations.
Here is a post written by Stephen Wakefield. He preached two weeks ago on the barriers of guilt and shame. You can also read it on his blog.
Barriers. We all got ‘em, we all hate ‘em.
The Bible clearly states that we are more than conquerors through Christ, yet we still have struggles and situations that without God seem completely hopeless. [Romans 8.37]
Jesus said that He came to give life, and life more abundantly; or to the fullest. Yet we find ourselves stuck dealing with the same problems, obstacles, hardships, or addictions that seem to have had the upper hand for days… [John 10.10]
Jesus wants us to live victoriously in this life; overcoming temptation, winning over sin and pursuing righteousness.
The Devil, the enemy of our faith, will do anything and everything to destroy what God loves: us. You and Me. And the main way he will try to do that is to build lies and construct barriers in our lives that keep us stuck and stagnant.
The barriers of guilt and shame can be very nasty tools that the Devil will try to use to hold us back from being exactly who God has called us and wants us to be.
Check out Genesis 3:1-13 (ESV)-
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpant, “We may eat of the fruitof the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shallnot eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
As the story continues, as well all know so well, the serpent (the devil) precedes to lie to Eve and twist the words of God so as to confuse her into eating of the one fruit they were not permitted to eat.
Eve takes of it, then Adam.
The immediate response we see from the two of them is fear, guilt and shame. They hid, and tried to cover their nakedness from the very God that formed them. When God came to hang out with them in the garden like they normally would and asked where they were, they exclaimed, “We were ashamed! So we hid ourselves…”
Guilt is the feeling of responsibility or remorse for some crime, offense or wrong whether real or imagined.
Shame is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.
When we as humans fail or fall short of God’s standard, like Adam and Eve our immediate response is to feel ashamed and guilty. We quickly buy into the lie of the enemy that says, “I’ve gone too far, I’m unlovable, I’m unforgivable, God won’t want me anymore.”
These lies begin to not only be a reoccuring theme of our thoughts, but it can start to become our identity.
When we mess up, the Devil will do his best to convince us that God is going to respond in anger or not forgive us…
BUT THAT’S NOT OUR GOD.
The Bible says that God will never leave you or forsake you. [Hebrews 13.5]
Another version says, “I will never let you down, walk off and leave you.”
In America we live in a Karma Culture. A mentality that says “what goes around comes around.” This can easily seep into our minds if we’re not careful in how we see and perceive our relationship with God.
“I sinned, so God is going to punish me. He’s angry with me. I’m going to have to be EXTRA good so that God will love me again…”
That is not how grace works though!
Learning this thing called grace requires a system reboot in how we think, adopting a completely new mindset. When we mess up, it’s not the end. God can and will forgive. And He will always love you.
When God sees you and I, He doesn’t see a screw up, He sees royalty.
Sinning leaves you feeling empty. Unworthy. Too far gone. Hopelessly stuck.
Relationship with God leaves you feeling confident. Free. Accepted and loved.
The beauty of grace through Christ is that God is only waiting for you to turn to Him so he can pull you out of your weakness and into His strength.
Guilt generally deals with the feeling you get when you’ve done something wrong. Shame on the other hand can deal with something that maybe someone has done to you.
Reality is, there are people reading this that have been abused; sexually, physically, verbally, and that leaves you feeling ashamed, unloved, worthless.