Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015 “The Guilt Burden”

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3: 19-20)

Good Morning Dear Friends! This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

All of us have done things of which we are ashamed…so ashamed that we have confessed certain thoughts and actions to no one, perhaps not even to God. Now it’s one thing to keep things hidden from other people. That can often be accomplished, but not always. Hardly any of us, at least at an early age, would dare do forbidden things openly. Let me share a common example. You’re still a child, perhaps around the age of ten or eleven…maybe even a bit younger, and you’re with some friends. One of your buddies got his hands on a can of beer and dares you to drink some of it. Now you know that you’re not supposed to drink it, but you are egged on by your buddy and succumb to the peer pressure and do the deed. I mean…who will know, right? Let me ask you this…how many of us at that age would have been so bold to sin openly? How many of us would have just casually gone to the fridge at that age , taken out a beer, and in the presence of mom and dad just plopped on the couch and started guzzling it down? If you said “not me”, your most likely correct. In our hearts we know disobedience and sin is wrong, so when we start down that path, we do so in secret. But it’s not really in secret, is it? Our conscience tells us that we have done something wrong and we feel guilty. Why is that? It’s because we understand in our heart of hearts that the One Who formed us does know all about it. He knows every secret sin. He sees every wrong act and knows every impure thought. We are left with few alternatives. We can either repent, come clean and confess our wrongdoing, or we can attempt to suppress the truth. We either lay down that guilt burden or we continue to carry it around with us. The first option results in chastening and restoration. The second option leads to a hardening of the heart against sin and further rebellion, and ultimately separates us from the only One who can bring complete restoration. When John wrote the words referenced above, he did so with the knowledge that God is just and loving and willing to chasten and restore us when we have sinned. He explains that this is how we know that we are living our lives in accordance with God’s will…that even though our heart condemns us and the Enemy is at busily at work reminding us of our guilt and that we should go and hide in shame from God, we also know that nothing is hidden from God who is greater than our hearts, and that in Him is deliverance from the guilt that keeps us captive. Baptist pastor Adrian Rogers asks this provocative question:

“Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?”

God never sits around and wonders what’s going to happen next in the world or in our lives. He knew before Adam and Eve took their first breath in the Garden of Eden that they were going to disobey. Before the foundation of the world He had already ordained the great plan of salvation that would come through the Son. God is never surprised or caught off guard. His is not a “trial and error” Lordship. He is the Omnipotent, Omniscient Lord of all who knows everything, for He is greater than the heart that condemns us, so set your heart at rest in Him. Let’s pray!

Heavenly Father; Some of us have been carrying a guilt burden in our hearts for far too long. Today, we confess our sin and lay down that burden at the foot of the Cross, never to pick it back up, for the weight of it has been borne by our Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, sets us free, and in and through Him, we are free indeed! May His Name be praised forevermore. Amen!

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