From where I sit in coastal South Carolina, summer weather has arrived! There’s lots of sunshine and we’ve already been up to 90 degrees a few days. We used to head to the beach one morning of Memorial Day weekend, but with both girls now having to be at work in the early afternoon, we’ve abandoned that tradition. I am planning for chicken wings and maybe hot dogs on the grill for Monday night’s supper, though!
I suppose this has been a lifelong struggle for me, but it has seemed more pronounced lately. Do you ever deal with shame and guilt? Maybe I read a post like last week’s on 5 Things to Do Today to Be a Virtuous Woman. I realize that I’m failing in some way and feel guilty. Or I see another mom with a larger family and more obligations than I have who’s constantly ministering in church. And I’m ashamed that I’m not doing more for the Lord.
When I was in that spot yesterday morning, I was drawn to Romans 8. It’s funny because I was actually looking for a passage that is in Romans 7. But as soon as I saw the first verse of chapter 8, I knew it was exactly what I needed.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.“
Because I have trusted Him as my Savior, I am in Christ Jesus. I am not going to be judged, pronounced guilty, or eternally punished for my sin. There is no need for me to feel guilt or shame. God is for me. He knows my heart and He also knows my flesh.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy...He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” ~Psalm 103:8, 10-14
What an encouragement this Psalm is for us!! God is patient and longsuffering. He reproves us when we knowingly sin against Him, but never to the degree that we deserve. His mercy is far above our human understanding. We are fully pardoned, and He has compassion for us in our weakness and frailty.
As I continued reading in Romans 8, I found encouragement that I’ll come back to when those emotions of shame and guilt come calling!
We are free from the bondage of sin because of the power of the cross.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us…” ~Verses 2-4
We could never have kept the law to earn our salvation. That gift is ours only because God’s Son came and took the penalty for our sin. And in our Christian life, we don’t earn His favor by striving hard to keep a list of rules. It’s all of grace, the “work” He did to save us, and the work He does to sanctify us.
God’s love, grace, mercy and goodness are continual blessings in our lives.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” ~Verse 32
Freely give. It’s true not only of salvation, but of all the good things He allows – and wants – us to enjoy.
The Holy Spirit – the same one who raised Jesus from the dead – lives inside us and gives us the power to live the Christian life.
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” ~Verses 10-11
“…if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” ~Verse 13
The Spirit within us gives us the ability to subdue our fleshly desires and live a righteous life. And beyond that, He will one day revive our physical bodies so that they can live with God forever.
Nothing can separate you and me from God’s love.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Verses 38-39
Can a truth be more simple yet more profound? We can’t be separated from God’s love.
The next time guilt and shame try to push their way into your mind, I hope these truths will help you fend them off. And since I also find that music helps get my thinking straight, here’s the song that encouraged me yesterday morning. It reminded me to live daily in the power of what Jesus accomplished for me on the cross.
- 5 Truths about God’s Love for Me
- 7 Truths about Finding Joy in God’s Word
- For the Woman Who Feels Like She’s Never Enough