Guilt vs. Conviction…How do we know which one it is? Have you ever wondered why you get that feeling in your stomach? That guilty, I did something really wrong feeling? And how do you get rid of it? Is there anything you can do to make it go away?
The Lord has confirmed in my own life that my feelings are many times unreliable and if I count on them to lead me then I will most definitely be headed in the wrong direction. He has been teaching me to always test everything (every feeling, every idea, every speaker, every writer…everything) with TRUTH! In John 17:17 As Jesus is preparing for His own death, He prays for His followers. He says to God, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth.” This tells us, The Bible, God’s Word, is the Truth. We must use it to determine in our own lives what is True and what is a Lie.
So, when I feel unloved, I know the truth is that God loves me because HIS WORD tells me that He does! And when I don’t feel like loving others, I know that the truth is that God has commanded me to love others, even those I don’t feel like loving.
I can also relate this to my sin. When I feel like I have done something wrong, (like I have sinned) I can test this feeling with the truth of God’s Word. The Bible is covered with what a Christ follower’s life should look like. So, when I examine myself against what scripture says, it will tell me if my feelings are appropriate.
It is a must in the life of a Christ follower to examine our guilty feelings because they always require action! They can come from one of two places and the action we take depends completely on where they originate. It can be 1. CONVICTION of Sin or 2. GUILT from Satan (the great accuser).
If we examine ourselves with scripture and find that we are living in a way that doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then we are experiencing CONVICTION and we need to REPENT (go to God with a humble spirit, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from that sin). James 4:1-12 gives a strong plea to believers to deal with their sin.
David, in 2 Samuel 12:1-15, was a great example of having a truly repentant spirit when he realized he had sinned.
If, however, we find that our life actually does line up with scripture and the feeling we are having is GUILT from Satan, then we need to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ! Meaning, we shouldn’t dwell on things that aren’t of Christ (Philippians 4:8).
So, don’t let Satan bring up past sins that you have already truly repented from. Psalm 103:11 says God removes our sin as far as the east is from the west! Instead of listening to Satan’s lies about you, dwell on what God says is true about you. Although, like in David’s case, repentance of sin doesn’t excuse us from consequences which can sometimes leave a painful reminder, God does forgive them all!
TEST FEELINGS WITH SCRIPTURE -
IF IT’S CONVICTION - TRULY REPENT
IF IT’S GUILT - REPLACE IT WITH TRUTH