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Do you serve God or your feelings?
Now, that may sound like an odd question for a believer, but really, it isn't. Let me put it this way... When you ask God to forgive you, do you accept His forgiveness right away or do you waste time feeling guilty?
So many Christians struggle with guilt and condemnation. They're trying to pay God back for what they did wrong when Jesus already made it right.
God's unconditional love is a very difficult concept for people to accept because, in the world, there's always payment for everything we receive. It's just how things work here. But God is not like people!
Aren't you glad about that?
We need to learn that whether or not we feel forgiven, we're forgiven.
Feelings of guilt and condemnation are a huge problem in the Church, but I want you to understand that’s what they are—feelings.
If you really know God's Word, no matter how you feel, you can speak scriptures over your life and pretty soon your feelings have lost their authority.
For instance, 1 John 1:9 says that if we repent and confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. You need to take hold of that.
The next time you ask God to forgive you and then feel guilty afterward, open your mouth and say, "God forgave me." Quote 1 John 1:9 or use another scripture but say it out loud. There is power in the tongue!
Praying and declaring Scripture out loud not only helps to renew your mind, it helps you stand firm, and it certainly puts the devil in his place.
The devil will try to make us feel guilty even when we didn't do anything wrong. So we need to confess our sins until everything is out in the open and told, and then get dressed in our spiritual armor so we can firmly stand our ground.
When it comes right down to it, we just want to be loved unconditionally and accepted for who we are. We don't want to have to pretend or perform. We just want to be accepted and loved. And God offers that to every single one of us.
None of us can earn God's love. But in order to receive God's love we need to first believe that He loves us.
If you have trouble believing God in this area, don't just put up with it and wish that you felt better. Study the love of God. Read books about it. Listen to teachings on love. Start talking about it.
Say, "If anybody can have God's love, I'm going to have it. If anybody can be free, I'm going to be free. If anybody can be happy, I'm going to be happy. If anyone can have peace, it's going to be me. If anybody can be used by God, I can be used by God. If anyone can get over their broken past, I will."
Don't give in to your emotions—minister to them. Manage them. Remember that every day you're in Christ, you're a new person.
Another area Christians struggle with is believing God has great plans for their life. Don't trust your feelings on that either. Trust God's Word.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
We can all have the future God has planned for us if we choose to go after it—if we choose to grow and develop a deep relationship with God.
Yes, it's painful to grow. It's not easy to say no to yourself and yes to God. But every time you deny your flesh, it gets a little weaker and you get the victory.
People who are really strong, serious Christians are going after the meat of the Word. They listen to teachings on pride. They want to be humble, patient and victorious in Christ, and they train themselves to learn right from wrong.
I'm here to tell you that if you know who you are in Christ and you choose to grow, you will have a lot less trouble fighting guilt and condemnation. As a matter of fact, you will love God and the people He uses to correct you because they're helping you change and grow.
I don't want you to wake up every day and just live your life based on how you feel. I want you to know that God loves you no matter what and that you don't have to let feelings dictate the course of your life.
I believe you will see a transition if you pray and ask God, "Do what you want to do in my life. I'm Yours."
I dare you.
This article is taken from Joyce's audio teaching, Do Yourself a Favor...Forgive.