I hope that you have been following along and spending time working through these steps to healthy choices, and that you will continue with me on this journey. So far, we have looked at:
- The Reality Choice… Admitting that you are not God…and life can be unmanageable…. identifying the main issue that impacts your life.
- The Hope Choice… Believing that God exists, you matter to Him, He can help you deal with your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
- The Letting Go Choice… the Commitment Choice. Committing your life to Christ’s Love, care, and control.
(If you missed any of these devotions, go back and scroll down.) Some of the materials are taken from a great book called Life’s Healing Choices. I encourage you to order a copy. I will be quoting sections for the next few devotions.
Also, when we can meet face to face again… I invite you to our Tuesday group at Royal Redeemer.
Know that dealing with your hurts, habits, hang-ups is a process. I am giving you daily tools, but it takes weeks or months to truly work through each of these steps. Some may seem easy…others can be more difficult.
(WARNING…the next 3 devotions can be hard, time consuming, and emotional! That’s a good thing because it can help you deal with past issues and present consequences. Hang in there, honestly working thru the material, and spend quiet time with the Lord.)
Today we will look at a more difficult, but very important choice. John Baker calls this the Coming Clean, Housecleaning Choice. This is when we need to wrestle with our past. We saw in the Letting Go choice that we have a God of Grace and Mercy… A God that is forgiving when we confess and repent. This Housecleaning Choice is when we get real, examine, and confess our past mistakes to ourselves and to God.
A State trooper pulled behind a speeding truck and turned on his flashers, but the truck kept going. The trooper got right up on his bumper, but the truck kept going. The trooper then turned on his siren, but the truck sped up! Finally, the truck ran out of gas and rolled to the side of the highway. The truck driver rolled down his window, and the trooper asked, “Did you see my lights?” “Yes sir, I did” responded the driver. “Did you see me following right on your bumper?” “Yes sir, I did.” said the driver. “Did you hear my siren all those miles?” again the driver said, “Yes sir, I did.” Finally, the trooper asked, “Then why didn’t you stop?” The driver answered “To be honest, about 2 years ago my wife ran off with an Ohio State Trooper. I was afraid you were trying to bring her back to me!”
Does that story hit home for you? Are you afraid of your past catching up with you? Do you try to sweep it under the rug…act like its no big deal…hope it will just go away?
A beatitude that is helpful is Matthew 5:8…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. God’s desire for you is a heart that is Christ-centered and free of all the junk that weighs us down…washed clean of all our hurts, habits, hang-ups that plague our lives. One of my favorite sections is Psalm 51:10-12… Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
So, let’s be honest! We have all done things that we wish we could go back and change…but we can’t. And guilt can be overpowering to us. Guilt keeps you from becoming all that God wants you to be. Guilt destroys your confidence; it damages relationships and keeps you stuck in the past. If you want real Joy…you need to let go of guilt. (Just a note…Guilt is the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime. Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.) This is key…guilt is about what you did…shame is about who you are. We are all guilty of sin, and yet through faith we are forgiven children of God! And there is no shame in that!
Most of our struggles come from guilt or regret over past issues that you can not change…or from worry and anxiety about tomorrow’s issues that may never happen. Why not live in today’s choices?
How can you get rid of past guilt?
- Take a personal inventory! Do some personal house cleaning so to speak. Many of you have used this “stay in place” time to do a deep cleaning of your house…finding things that were buried in corners and closets. I encourage you to do the same and look deep into your life. (past and present). Look in all of the so-called closets, basements, attics where you have hidden away stuff…things that you have hidden hoping to never deal with, repressed, and rationalized away. Many of you hire a “cleaning person” for your house. Ask God to help you “clean your life and heart.” Psalm 139:23-24… Search me, God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.Dealing with many of your hurts, habits, and hang-ups can get deep and complex, call me if you need help.
- Accept responsibility for your faults! Be honest, don’t rationalize (that’s just “rational lies”), don’t blame others (to blame is to “be lame”)…just own them. Proverbs 20:27 (tlb)… A man’s conscience is the Lord’s searchlight exposing his hidden motives. (A very important note…If your hurt is that you have been abused by someone…know that it was not your fault and do not take responsibility for someone else’s sins). Talk to someone (like me?) about releasing yourself from the pain.
- Ask God’s Forgiveness! No sin is so severe that God can’t (and won’t) forgive. 1 John 1:8-9… If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. God in His Mercy, for the sake of Jesus death for you, wants to forgive you!!!! How does God forgive?
- God forgives instantly! Hebrews 4:16 (ncv)… Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. He already has paid the price and offers you forgiveness. He never makes you wait or puts conditions on forgiveness.
- God forgives freely! Romans 3:24 (ncv)… and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. Nothing you can do to earn, deserve, or pay for forgiveness.
- God forgives completely! Romans 8:1 (niv)…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, He has no conditions attached. Nothing you can do to make God not love you…nothing you can do to make Him love you more. HE LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY!
How’s that for freedom from your past and Hope for today!
And when the guilt of past (confessed and forgiven) sins come back…it’s not from God! He promises to remove them as far as the east is from the west! “Any time that the devil reminds you of your past…remind him of his future”.
This choice can be very difficult and take a lot of quiet reflective moments. Ask God to guide you through it…. And always know that I am also here to help.