Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Friday, March 30, 2012
Freedom from False Guilt
Read | 1 John 3:19-24
Have guilty feelings created a wall that prevents you from receiving God’s unconditional love? Perhaps you still haven’t accepted His forgiveness for something you’ve done in the past. Until you do, you will continue to deprive yourself of the divine love He wants you to experience.
Or maybe the problem is that you carry around a false sense of guilt–you don’t know why you feel ashamed, but you do. The Holy Spirit clearly convicts us of sin so we can repent and be free. But a pervasive, vague sense of guilt with no specific cause comes from the Devil. Ask God to cleanse you of it. Jesus died for you so that you could be free!
Another source of guilt is legalistic teaching. Many people have been taught a distorted version of the gospel and think, I’ll never measure up. That’s the kind of message the religious leaders of Jesus’ time communicated: Unless you do this, God won’t accept you; if you do that, you’ll go to hell. Pharisaical living involves trying to earn the Lord’s acceptance through your own power–righteous deed by righteous deed. Since no one can please Him this way, attempting to do so leads to bondage. Jesus came to liberate us from this slavery. It’s time to let His grace and love cleanse you from any shame weighing you down.
The Bible says that when you are set free by Christ, your freedom is complete (John 8:36). Reject Satan’s lie that you are separated from the liberty found in Jesus’ love. Then ask the Lord to help you walk in the truth. You can again experience the joy of unhindered fellowship with your Savior.
1 John 3
Children of God Love One Another
1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.