Today I would like to talk to you about joy and guilt. There are many Christians today that are not experiencing a joy filled life. Paul tells us the following in Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Paul tells us that we are to be filled with all joy and peace. Yet so often I talk to Christians that report that the feeling of joy is missing from their lives.
While there are many reasons why people are not living lives filled with joy, I have typically found that most Christians don’t experience joy in their lives due to overwhelming feelings of guilt. Guilt robs us of our joy and causes us to live defeated lives. This is not where the Lord desires us to be.
As we read the Scriptures we see two different types of guilt being discussed. The first guilt is a Godly Guilt. In 2 Corinthians 7: 8-9 the Apostle Paul speaks of the letter he sent to the Church at Corinth where he strongly rebuked the believers of particular sins that were being committed and overlooked in the church. The result of the letter was a feeling of sorrow or guilt that led them to repentance and a restoration of their joy. We must also consider what Jesus tells us in John 16: 7-8. Here Jesus promises the arrival of the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit. Jesus states that when the Holy Spirit comes He will reprove the world of sin. When we as believers walk in sin the Holy Spirit will produce a feeling of guilt within our hearts. While this guilt will rob us of our joy we must remember that the purpose is to drive us to confession and repentance. Once we have confessed our sins and repented our joy is then restored. This Godly guilt, is in fact, a good guilt.
Another type of guilt the Christian can experience is a False Guilt. If you have repented of your sins and confessed them to the Lord and you are still plagued by guilt those feelings are called a False Guilt. This feeling of guilt is one of condemnation and comes directly from Satan. We must remember that the moment we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and became a Child of God, we became a hated enemy of Satan. Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is called the accuser of our brethren. Satan stands before God both day and night bringing accusations against us and pointing out our sins. He is also whispering in our ears, “Remember that sin you committed? You sin all the time! Maybe the Lord really didn’t forgive you!” The result of Satan’s whispering accusations in our ears is a False Guilt robbing us of our joy. When Satan has established a False Guilt in our hearts we must remember the promises of the Lord found in 1 John 1:9 “ If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Also Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” When we have been forgiven, we have been forgiven no matter what Satan may say, We need to let go of confessed sins, we need to move on, and we need to press on.