God created us for a specific purpose. Knowing that purpose is vital to being able to pursue and fulfill it. Sometimes however, we may become hesitant in the pursuit of what we know God has asked us to do because of guilt and shame.
How Guilt and Shame come
Guilt and shame in our context are the result of sin. When we sin, we feel remorse and displeasure over what we’ve done. If that feeling is left unchecked, it could lead to guilt and shame. With a guilty conscience, we find it hard to pray, study God’s Word or pursue our purpose.
We see an explanation of how sin produces shame and a guilty conscience in Genesis 3:
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” – Genesis 3:8-10
After Adam sinned, his reaction to the presence of God was to run away. His shame, guilt and fear led him to try and stay away from God’s presence. This is the natural reaction of man to the presence of God after sin: to run away.
In our message on What to do if you sin, we saw how God has made provision for forgiveness if we sin as believers. We also saw that while this provision is not a license to sin, we can be forgiven if we do wrong. All we have to do is confess our sin and ask God to forgive us.
Therefore, our reaction if we sin should not be to run from God. Rather, we should run to him for mercy and forgiveness. This is a reaction we as believers need to consciously cultivate.
The devices of the Enemy
If we do not understand how to deal with sin, it’s effects on us will result into several things, including guilt, shame and stagnation in the work God has given us to do. Our ignorance on how to deal with sin is a strategy the devil uses to keep us from fulfilling that purpose God has for us. In 2 Corinthians, the bible says:
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” – 2 Corinthians 2:11
We must be aware that the devil uses this shame to stagnate God’s work and paralyze believers in their work of destiny. This is because if sin keeps us from the presence of God, we cannot fellowship with Him or receive direction from God on what steps to take. As a result, the pursuit of purpose becomes stagnant and as believers, we lose our walk with God. It is a very dangerous position to be in.
How to deal with Guilt and Shame
The subject of guilt and shame is first and foremost an issue of sin. Jesus stripped the devil of all power when He rose victoriously from the dead. The devices and strategies of the devil revolve around issues of sin and an ignorance of the provisions available to us in Christ.
In Hebrews 9, Paul the Apostle spoke about man’s conscience and how the Blood of Jesus is able to purge it from anything that paralyzes and prevents us from serving God. Let’s take a look at the scripture:
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” – Hebrews 9:13-14
What Paul meant by this scripture was that if in Old Testament times, the blood of bulls and goats could sanctify the flesh, the Blood of Jesus Christ can do much more for us. In other words, we can be confident that the Blood of Jesus is able to cleanse our conscience from guilt, shame, remorse and whatever else may be within our conscience that prevents us from serving God.
So now, we understand that the way to deal with guilt and shame is through the Blood of Jesus. Whenever we feel guilt or shame, we can plead the Blood of Jesus over ourselves. Simply pray and ask God to forgive you of your sins. Ask Him to cleanse your heart and conscience with the Blood of Jesus. It’s that simple.
Living by Faith
The things of the Kingdom of God are simple. In fact, the bible says they are so simple that they confound reputedly wise men. This is because Jesus already did all the work for us. We are called therefore to live and walk by faith.
In this regard, it is possible sometimes for us to feel that we need to do something to earn our forgiveness. Or we may ask for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse us and not believe it’s done because we feel we have not earned it. This is very dangerous. Nothing we can do can earn for us what Jesus did at Calvary. We just have to believe and accept the work of Christ by faith.
Today, if you are living under the weight of guilt and shame, I implore you to turn to God. Forgiveness is available; God still loves you and is calling you back to him. If you are not saved, or are so lost in sin that you don’t know if you still are, give your life to Him today. He will save you from your sins and deliver you like you never believed possible.
God bless you.
David Adeniji is the Founder and President of The Behold File, a teaching ministry founded in 2003. The Behold File provides a platform through which the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of men to see Jesus so they can be changed to be like him.