One of the first Bible verses I can remember memorizing is Proverbs 23:7. It says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (KJV). What a profound truth for all of us. Henry Ford interpreted it this way, “Whether you think you or can’t, you’re right.” The power of your thoughts are so important to being able to live out your faith and pursue your calling. Do you believe that Jesus forgave all your sins and set you free 100% or do you still carry the guilt of forgiven sins? Everything that God wants to do through you starts with how you answer that question. If you believe there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), then you’re free to fulfill your purpose. If you still feel condemnation from your past, you’re living in a self imposed prison.
Living under guilt and condemnation from your past is a self limiting belief. The enemy knows that your thoughts predict your future, so he attacks you there. He goes after how you feel too. If he can get you to feel guilty, then he can keep you from your purpose. Feelings lie, but God doesn’t. Other He has the power to forgive you and take your guilt or He doesn’t. Acts 13:39 says, “Everyone who believes in Him is set free from sin and guilt” (TPT). So we know that those feelings of guilt are a tool of the enemy to hold you back from your destiny and they are not from God. You need to let that verse sink into your soul and repeat it, along with Romans 8:1, until you believe it from the inside out.
1 John 3:20 tells us, “Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and he knows everything there is to know about us.” God knows who you have been and who you’re becoming. Old things have past away, and all things in your life are becoming new through Him. Trust in the grace of God to forgive and remove your guilt, then be transformed into a new person through the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Your past happened and there are scars to show, but those things are not meant to hold you back. They’re there to help others find their freedom and healing. God knows everything, everything, about you and He still loves you, forgives you and wants to use you. Leave the self limiting thoughts and feelings in the past where they belong and find your freedom and purpose in your forgiveness.
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To demonstrate how difficult it is to accomplish even the easiest tasks while you are bound up, I once tried to preach a sermon with my hands tied behind my back. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but it proved to be more difficult than I could imagine. My first problem was holding the microphone. Then I needed help turning the pages in my bible. After that, I needed to turn the page in my notes. Finally, I couldn’t use my hands then I spoke, which apparently I do.
So many of us try to do more than speak while we are bound up. We actually try to go through life while we are bound up in depression, addiction, grief, sin, etc. If you’ve been there, you know that even the smallest tasks can prove to be difficult. Go designed you to live a life of freedom. As Paul wrote, “It was for freedom that He set you free.” Jesus also said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
There’s a song called “Chain Breaker” that says, “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.” The words to this song remind me that I don’t have to live bound up in my chains. There is no chain so strong that God cannot break it in your life. There is no depression so dark that He can’t bring you out of it. I’ve been in the deep, dark prison of depression and He set me free.
I love reading Psalm 107 because it’s a reminder of what God can do for us. In verse 14 it says, “He brought them out of their gloom and darkness and broke their chains in pieces” (GNT). If you’re bound up by chains today or are in a dark place, call out to God. Ask Him to lead you out of that place and to set you free. I know if He did it in my life, He can do it in yours. It’s time we all got back to living the life of freedom that God created us to live.
When my brothers and I were younger, there were times when we rough housed. One time, I broke something valuable, but my mom thought it was my brother who broke it. Without questioning anyone, she whipped him. I felt bad, but at the same time, I didn’t want to get whipped. My guilt began to eat at me. Finally, I confessed because the feeling if guilt was too much. I took an extra whipping for letting my brother take the punishment, but at least my feelings of guilt were gone.
Feeling guilty can be very powerful and affect so many areas of our life. Either we confess and deal with the consequences or it eats us up inside. It can consume our thoughts and affect how we live. I like to watch “The First 48”, which is a reality show that follows the police in the first 48 hour of a murder investigation. When they capture the person, they often tell them, “If you’ll confess, you’ll feel better.” Many of them do confess with tears running down their face. They still have to face their consequences, but there’s a release in that moment.
Becoming a Christian is a lot like that. We confess our sins to God and He releases us from the eternal consequences of our guilt. We usually have to face earthly consequences for our actions, but our eternal guilt is gone. Those feelings of guilt fade away because we’ve been forgiven when we confess. God removed our guilt and says, “Your eternal penalty was paid for by my Son. He paid the price for your actions.”
In Psalm 32:1-2, David wrote, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (NLT) God values our honesty with Him and through our honest confessions, forgiveness is given. David understood the joy of being released from the guilt of sin. He understood that God values our honesty with Him. He knows we’ve messed up. He knows we’re guilty. He loves us enough that He’s prepaid for our guilt and is waiting for us to admit it. Don’t carry your guilt anymore. Confess it to God and find that joy you’re missing.