As Christians, we fight many battles, and I think that the hardest ones by far are the ones that we fight inside of ourselves, within our hearts and minds. That’s a big problem with me sometimes, or rather, quite often. I don’t know why it’s that way, but I suppose even the first battles ever fought were inner ones. When Eve was debating whether or not to accept the fruit, I’m sure she experienced an inner battle first. Even when Satan rebelled against God, it first began inside of him, an inner desire and longing for more power, to be God himself. Thus, it seems understandable for me to experience these inner struggles.
Lately, I’ve really been dealing with the problem of guilt and regrets. I didn’t really realize how bad this issue was until last Sunday in our Sunday school lesson at church. The teacher did a brief survey on different things in our lives that were causing us problems, if you will. One of the questions was whether or not there was something in our life that repeatedly trips us up, holds us back, or sends us back to the beginning. As I thought about this question I realized that regrets over past mistakes was probably a big one at the top of my list. Throughout my week, this seemed to be a recurring problem and I just couldn’t get over it. It wasn’t even so much over past stuff, but lots of present things. I would do something or make a mistake somewhere, and I would feel so stupid and couldn’t seem to get over it. As I think of it now, it’s really kind of ridiculous because they’re such silly little things often that hardly anyone will notice, and yet, I made such a big deal about it.
Sometimes we really just have to get over it and move on. Yes, our inner struggles and battles can be difficult to deal with, but we can’t always be stuck in a rut. Sometimes we just have to pick ourselves up and move on. It’s good to stop and think over our mistakes and shortcomings and bring them before the Lord. Actually, I think this is necessary if we want to advance in the Christian life. Acknowledge, repent, but then leave it alone as much as you can. Yes, we do bear consequences for our actions, and later in life that experience will serve as a reminder to do something differently, but we don’t have to think about it constantly. I believe that constant reminder, that voice in the back of our minds, is a tactic Satan uses to pull us Christians down and discourage us, but we don’t have to let him.
2 Corinthians 7:9-11
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves clear in this matter.”
Yes, godly sorrow is good for it leads to repentance, it makes us careful, and it clears us. But all too often I find myself sorrowing after repentance, still stuck in guilt and shame. That’s wrong. When Christ died and rose again, He not only took care of our sin, but He also took care of the guilt and shame. If I still feel guilty or ashamed after repentance, after knowing that God has forgiven and cleared me, that’s my choice. That’s me allowing Satan to have room in my life to work out those thoughts. When I do that, I’m actually in a way saying that what Jesus accomplished on the cross wasn’t good enough, it didn’t cut it, didn’t do the job. Oh, how terrible that is to live a defeated life when Christ rose again and defeated death itself. It does us no good, but as that verse above says, “the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
So let us not get dragged down into a pit. Don’t let anything steal your joy. The battle has been won. Let’s show the world who our God really is!