I am not one who really likes Halloween or celebrates it. I know that is a very unpopular opinion in today’s society, trust me. Putting that aside, I believe that the Lord has brought something to my attention today and that I should share this with you all that, yes, you’ve guessed it, deals with haunting. Not the haunting that most people think of that have to do with ghosts or demons, but rather our sin. Sin we have committed in the past that just wont go away. Whether that be an addiction that you still struggle with, or shame that you cant seem to get rid of, it haunts you. I was just recently dealing with the same thing, on an extreme level, and I believe that it is good to share the good news about what God has to say about our past sins.
So to start, I want to point out that this is a common weapon the enemy uses against us, especially when we are fervently seeking Christ; he brings up sins in the past, our failures, both big and small, and will rub them in our faces. And trust me when I say that you are not alone if and when you struggle with this. I not only am combat with this attack from the enemy, but I also struggle with self-forgiveness pretty bad as well. When I mess up or do something wrong, I have a very hard time forgiving myself, even when someone else has forgiven me. “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Psalms 51:2-3. This is something I am constantly working through, and it truly does feel like my sin is always there to haunt me, to torment me, reminding me of how many times I have messed up. I really want to focus today on how the enemy uses this guilt to keep us from moving forward, into the abundant joy and peace God has for us.
There are two types of shame that need to be set apart from one another. True shame or guilt is what leads to repentance and is prompted by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Now, the false guilt, which the enemy uses against us, is when we have already repented and been forgiven of our sin but we still feel guilty or associate with our sinful past. That is where Satan likes to break us. He will plant seeds of doubt within you and you will begin to block out the beautiful promises God has already given you. Something that is often used against me is “You call yourself a Christian? A follower of Christ? When you sin like that??” The enemy will remind us of just how sinful we are, and just how much we dont deserve Gods love or forgiveness. That is where knowing what the Word says comes into play; when we arm ourselves against the lies that the enemy will use to knock us off our feet. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11.
Something that I have realized through my own personal walk is how allowing shame or guilt to take over even after being forgiven causes a rift in our relationship with God. We are pushing away the free gift of forgiveness when we continue to feel guilty for something that we have already been forgiven of it. Essentially, we are telling God that His forgiveness isn’t enough, that His power to forgive cannot take away the guilt that we feel. Well let me tell you something, His forgiveness IS enough! Not only is it enough, but God goes so far and beyond just forgiving. Throughout Scripture we are reminded of the beautiful promises God has given us, and that alone should be enough to lift the weight of guilt off of our shoulders.
- Hebrews 8:12 ~ “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
- Psalms 25:7 ~ “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.”
- Psalms 103:11-12 ~ “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
- Micah 7:19 ~ “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
- Isaiah 1:18 ~ “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'”
- 1 John 1:9 ~ “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
We are made new in Him! He not only forgives us, but has removed our sin as far as the East is from the West. Think about that, you cannot take the East and bring it closer to the West. No matter how far West you go, you will never reach East. It is the same with our sin; God not only forgives our sin, but He completely removes it from us. From our past, from our hearts, from our very being. It is erased because of the sacrifice Jesus made. I do want to remind you though that shame and guilt is not sinful. Guilt is what brings us to repentance, when we are convicted because of something sinful we have done. Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Having a spirit of repentance is so important in order to change the behavior and moving on from our past habits. When we repent and accept forgiveness from the Lord, we are able to focus on the promise of freedom rather than dwelling on the past, allowing it to haunt every part of your life.
When the enemy pulls your past sins to the surface, when he reminds you that you are too sinful to be loved by God, that you should just give up now because there is no use trying to serve Christ, tell him this, “I know that i am sinful. I know that i deserve hell and punishment and separation from God. But i also know that i am loved regardless. Christ dies so that I no longer live in the shackles of sin!” There is victory in Christ, there is freedom in Christ! “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.
If the enemy is using your past to haunt you, to burden you with the weight of shame, rest in the assurance that when you truly are repentant, God is faithful to forgive us and He removes our sins so far that they are no longer known. He does not keep record of our sins, they have been blotted away and we are made anew in Christ. So if, like myself, you are also struggling with this, with the haunting of your past sins, mistakes and failures, please know that there is freedom for you. Jesus paid it all so that we may find rest in Him, and that the heaviness of guilt will be lifted off of us. Similar to how people dress up for Halloween, let’s clothe ourselves in the armor of God, so that way when the enemy brings up our past, we can stand firm in the promises that we have been forgiven and we are free from guilt.
I pray that you all have a safe night and that this blog was encouraging to you. I know that I’ve found encouragement just writing this and studying more about God’s promises. Please know that you are not the only one who is struggling with this, and that you have fellow brothers and sisters praying for you. Stay strong and remember that there is victory in Christ! God bless you all!