Friday, November 9, 2012

Conquering The Past-Conquering Guilt Part II by Martin Wiles

Series: Conquering The Past

My journey back to God began with a pack of cigarettes and an offer to teach a Sunday School class.

For ten years, I had experimented in forbidden but enticing areas. Forget what God wanted. I wanted what I wanted. And I fervently ran after it. By the time the offer disembarked, I had put aside my questionable activities-except for tobacco use. After all, the Bible didn’t say, “Thou shalt not smoke.” (But it did say my body was a temple of God’s Spirit).

The question instigated anxiety and excitement simultaneously: “Would you teach a young adult Sunday School class?” I agreed but felt ashamed when I stood before them with cigarettes nestled in my shirt pocket. God overwhelmed me with guilt and I suppose that’s why I was able to lay them aside without medical help.

Guilt is either false or real. Mine was genuine. I had an issue needing attention. The guilt of God’s people was real too.  If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared (Hebrews 10:2 NLT).

As God graciously accepted those faith sacrifices and granted the worshipers forgiveness, so he did for me when I laid aside my damaging habit. Guilt is real when experienced because of unconfessed sin, and repentance is the only proper path of action to absolve it. Fortunately, God doesn’t require perfection, but neither will he use us when we consciously choose to wallow in disobedient lifestyles. If you’re experiencing genuine guilt over sinful practices, repent and choose a different course.

Prayer: Merciful and forgiving heavenly Father, thank You that we don’t have to wallow in sin and its accompanying guilt. Rather, let us experience the joy and freedom of forgiveness.