I used to struggle with guilt — guilt for sinful behavior, things I thought I could have done better, but most of all, guilt for experiencing blessings from God that I didn’t see others enjoying. I felt guilty for answered prayers and for better circumstances than my friends.
I knew that “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus,” but for some reason, it was easier to feel forgiven for my sins, trusting Jesus had really taken them away from me as far is the east is from the west, than for me not to feel guilty about being blessed by God’s hand of mercy and love.
But one day I heard someone say that guilt is from the devil and that conviction is from the Holy Spirit. That moment was eye-opening for me and started me down a path to enjoy God’s goodness and very real character displayed in my life.
Has the enemy tried to make you feel bad for the good things in your life? Do you feel guilty for having prayers answered? Are you being shamed by the enemy for God’s goodness displayed in your life?
I had allowed the devil to trick me from living in the freedom Jesus provides. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about sin I needed to turn from and He was teaching me how to listen to Him better and obey. But the guilt was still heavy on me — not about sin but about God’s blessings that He had poured into my life.
I remember being in small groups at church and dreading the time when it was time for me to share my testimony. I didn’t feel like Jesus had saved me from enough. I felt bad for how easy my life had been compared to the others in the group. I allowed guilt to make me feel the need to apologize for things I didn’t have to endure or weren’t part of my story.
I allowed guilt to silence my praises to the One who had protected, provided, sacrificed, and loved me. I allowed comparison to lessen what God had done in my life — healing a disease, breaking my perfectionist spirit, changing my headstrong ways, redirecting my career path, being content in singleness, creating in me a new heart to love a child and overcoming infertility.
Guilt can be hard to get rid of. Its best friend is shame and that always leaves us silenced to ask for help or to praise Jesus.
I confessed to God I felt guilty about everything. I told Him I felt undeserving. I didn’t know why lives were so different and things were unfair. I didn’t understand why He would bless me so much. I was having a hard time accepting the answers to prayers I had prayed and how good God really was to me.
It had become easier to focus on God and try to praise Him in my perseverance in the hard situations than to praise Him when the prayer was answered, when the long-awaited gift finally came, when He revealed more of His tangible goodness in my life.
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that blessings should only create a thankful heart and praises to our King — not comparison, guilt, or shame. Those three things have been nailed to the cross with our sin.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
James 1:17 (NLT)
Like the sunlight of today, God pours down His good gifts on us. This is part of His character. He never changes, and God does not cast a shadow on our situations. The gifts should make us respond with praises to Him in the glow of His light in our lives.
Freedom to praise God for His goodness in our lives is how Jesus dwells with us. He lives in our praises. As Psalm 22:3 says, “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
I have come to realize I live in answered prayers. I have become a living example to others of how God keeps His word and comes through on His promises. I can reveal Him to others by the hope of His goodness in my life.
We often spend a lot of time praying for something or someone. And when the answer comes, when we see God move on our behalf and answer our prayers, we give a quick “Thank you, Jesus!” and move on. But after being released from the overwhelming guilt for the goodness God had poured in my life, I now can’t help myself but to share the stories time and again. Some people collect memory stones, I celebrate with cake. I force the celebration of the big and the small to extend the praise and stamp it in my heart and document it in my mind.
Do you spend as much time praising God and celebrating the victory of overcoming, praising Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon you, as you do you praying through the hardships? There doesn’t need to be embarrassment or guilt for blessings. We can celebrate God’s mercy, love, and our answered prayers, reminding us of our role as child of the King and simultaneously giving hope to others waiting on their blessing.
Let’s not cower away from sharing what God has done in our midst and on our behalf because we are worried about someone else’s jealousy. Share with thanksgiving the kindness of God. In that, there is real, tangible hope. Enjoy the blessings He has bestowed on you and be thankful, not guilty.
Let’s not cower away from sharing what God has done in our midst and on our behalf because we are worried about someone else’s jealousy. -Stephanie Bryant: Click To Tweet