Guilt can lead to destruction
Living in guilt can be devastating to the life God wants us to live. I remember being a young boy and not having anything to really be concerned with or worry about. Until one day, when I left the back gate open on accident and unknowingly let our girl dog out of the backyard. My family lived near a busy highway and our girl dog was a runner, so by the time my mom and I were able to track her down, it was too late.
I felt so much guilt for leaving the back gate open, which ultimately led to losing one of our dogs. That guilt weighed on me for years and actually changed me in ways that I wasn’t prepared for. As I went through adolescence, I struggled with fear and worry. As a result I made some really bad decisions in my teenage years. I was caught up in sin due to a combination of things, such as selfishness and doubt.
Our own sin can certainly lead to guilty feelings, but so can other people’s sins, or even any accidents that may happen.
Let it go
Sometimes we have trouble getting passed our past. It is difficult to move forward when we are constantly thinking about the past. We should stop thinking so much about the past. However, we shouldn’t be too quick to move too far into the future either. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
We should live in the present, trusting God for our future and thanking God for the lessons of our past. Romans 8:1 declares, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” One bad decision can hurt, but it doesn’t have to destroy us. Guilt can often lead us down a dangerous path, when instead of having God’s peace, we try to handle our guilt all alone. Our confidence in Christ’s power to heal us can be so much greater than any feelings of condemnation, if we seek Him.
Whatever the reason for guilt, just let it go. Now that Jesus is in your life, there is no more condemnation.
Stop living in the past and start living in the present. Stop worrying and start praying. Take your concerns to God and ask Him for guidance. Go to His word and seek His truth.
Start living your life in a constant state of forgiveness and repentance. Forgive others and ask for their forgiveness. Ask for God’s forgiveness for your sins and allow His grace to change you into who He wants you to be. Start doing the work that He has for you without .
You are free, so thrive in that freedom that only Christ can offer. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Freedom is a little bit like a roller coaster ride
Do you remember the last time you rode on a roller coaster? If so, do you remember how it felt? Were you nervous and excited all at the same time? A roller coaster can give you a similar sensation to free falling, while being securely strapped to a seat. As long as the roller coaster is well maintained and the proper safety measures are in place, you are free to enjoy the ride. However, if the roller coaster is not maintained and safety measures aren’t kept than the ride could become potentially dangerous.
Sometimes freedom can feel like a roller coaster ride. God didn’t create us to be robots who don’t ever experience the liberty that he offers us through a relationship with Jesus. He created us to be free and to enjoy the ride of life. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Balancing liberty with responsibility
Responsibility is like our seat belt and harness. It protects us from making poor choices. As believers, God has given us responsibility. While we are free, our choices have consequences. Some of our choices can affect ourselves and others more than we might think. We should frequently consider our own balance of freedom and responsibility. For we are responsible for our actions or our apathy. “But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.” Galatians 6:4-5
We are responsible for living our lives for God’s glory. We are responsible for everything that God has given to us. In order to be obedient to God, we need to be aware of how freedom and responsibility coexist. As God’s creation you have freedom in him and obedience to him is your responsibility. “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” 1 Peter 2:16
Living as a free and responsible Christian
God gave us the freedom to choose his way or choose poorly. I encourage you to live in freedom and choose his way. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13 It is a personal choice to act responsibly and doing so allows us to experience an ultimate sense of freedom.
Sometimes I can neglect my responsibility as a Christian, but I can also neglect my responsibility as an adult. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 If I don’t stand up for what is right, then who will. It is my responsibility to do good. It is my responsibility to fight for the truth.
The truth is that we lose some of our freedom when we stop acting responsibly. It’s like the roller coaster ride. We have the freedom to ride the roller coaster, but if we don’t choose to use the provided safety precautions we could lose our freedom. We are responsible for our freedom and we are free to be responsible. How can you live out a free and responsible walk with Jesus?
God’s nature testifies to his love for freedom
Like just about every other man that has ever seen the movie, I thought Braveheart was one of the best movies ever. I liked the acting and the plot. I thought the battle scenes were well done and I thought that the story line was compelling. Although none of that compared to the moments of the movie when William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) shouted for “freedom” in the face of tyranny. I often wonder why I feel that way when I hear the word freedom? Why do I feel closer to the Lord when I see or hear about someone sacrificing for freedom? I wonder if God put that vigor for freedom in our hearts. I wonder if freedom is in our DNA.
In an effort to better understand God’s heart toward freedom, we should first consider God’s creation of mankind. When God created Adam and Eve, he created them physically free. They were free to choose what they did and said. They were free to choose what they ate. God’s creation of mankind clearly demonstrates that it is within his nature to give mankind physical freedom.
Adam and Eve were told not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but notice that the Lord did not put them in chains to keep them from eating the forbidden fruit. They still had freedom to choose even though it was the one thing God told them not to do. Of course, it ended up being a very poor choice, but it proved that God created us free.
God’s word demonstrates how he cares about freedom
The Lord gave Moses a clear picture of how he viewed the Israelite’s affliction under Pharaoh in Egypt. This picture reveals the Lord’s heart towards slavery in several ways.
- He sees affliction and listens to the cries of the oppressed
- He is aware of suffering among the oppressed
- He intends to deliver the oppressed and bring them to a good land
- He can use anyone he wants to free those who are in slavery
“The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.” Exodus 3:7-9
God wants you to have freedom
In the beginning, God gave mankind physical freedom. God cares about your physical freedom and that is evident by his nature and his word. It was only the influence of sin on mankind that caused the institution of slavery. It is extremely important to note the distinction that while God may allow slavery to occur, he does not endorse it. He endorses freedom.
God gave us spiritual freedom in him and that can never be taken away. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners…” Isaiah 61:1 Physical freedom can be taken away by sinful acts of mankind. However, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want you to have physical freedom.
Freedom is a gift from God and that gift should not be taken for granted. If God cares about freedom, so should we. God created you for a great purpose and he wants you to thrive. He wants you to have freedom to worship him with all you have. “In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.” A.W. Tozer