Creflo Dollar - Overcoming Regret
If you have your Bibles, join me in the book of Revelations chapter 12 and verse 10, Revelations chapter 12 and verse 10 as we endeavor to get into this today, and I pray that you will experience supernatural deliverance from regret. Let's start off this way so we can be on the same page. How would we define regret? And I know you know what it is, but we wanna just really just kinda sow this into your spirit so you can look at this. Regret, it means to feel sorrow or remorse for an act, feel sorrow or remorse for a fault, to feel sorrow or remorse for disappointment, things like that.
So, maybe you did something and you feel remorse for it, or maybe there was a particular fault or act and you feel remorse or sorrow for it. That's what it is. When you deal with this word "regret", it's to think of something with a sense of loss. You think of, "Oh, you know, look at the fault I did 20 years ago, and now as a result of it, I lost that relationship", or, "Look at the decision that I failed to make, and as a result of it, I lost that opportunity", so it's to think of something with a sense of loss.
Now, these next two phrases, they really will hit home because they're strong. Regret is that sense of self-condemnation, and condemnation's always... well, it wasn't enough, and condemning you saying, "Well, you're no longer useful because of what you did or what you made happen". But it's also self-disgust. Maybe something in the past that was just disgusting, and you were responsible for it. Maybe something that happened in a relationship, or I don't know what it is, but it's self-disgust. And not only is it regret, but it's, "I'm disgusted at what I allowed happen, allowed to happen. I'm condemned as a result of what happened in my past".
So, one of the things I want you to understand as we begin to deal with this is that most of us, most of us who are human have to deal with regret from time to time. I'm sure you can agree that most of us, as human beings, have to deal with regret from time to time. Maybe regret because of a poor decision we made. Maybe it's regret because of sin that we committed in the past, or maybe even sin that you committed yesterday. Maybe it's the regret that comes from the people that we've hurt in our past. Maybe it's the regret from a parenting mistake that still haunts you today, a regret from something that you wish you would have done with your children when they were smaller, a regret from a parenting mistake that still haunts you today, a regret or feeling regret for, you know, things that I wish I had done differently in my life or in my ministry. Regret, things I wish I'd done.
I used to walk in that regret of things I wish I would have done, decisions I wish I would have made, things that I wish I'd done differently in my ministry, things I wish, you know, I would not have said or gotten involved in my life and in my ministry, regret that comes. And I want you to understand that regret just only robs you of precious minutes and precious days, where you find yourself focusing more on your past than on what Jesus has done for your today and for your future.
Regret can occupy a substantial amount of real estate in our minds. And though we all have done things that we can regret, God doesn't want regret to rob us of our joy that we have in Jesus Christ, nor does he want regret to cripple and affect us in our pursuit of Jesus Christ, so notice some little key things there. Regret robs you of the joy that you have in Jesus, but it also cripples, and it affects us in our pursuit of Jesus Christ, so this is all about distracting you from maturing and developing in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I absolute believe that regret tries to accomplish one major thing in the life of a Christian, and that is to spend so much time focusing in on the things you will regret, that you're not spending the time focusing in on the pursuit of Jesus Christ and the pursuit of all that he has done. So, what I'd like to do this morning is I'd like to talk about ways that we can practically overcome regret, use the Scriptures to begin to outline some things that'll help you to deal with the regret when it comes, because this thing happens in your head. You can be walking along or doing something in life and have a thought of your past, and it just seems, "Why is Satan so intent on trying to continue to bring me back to my past? And why seems like he's the only one concerned about getting me back to my past"?
Well, we're gonna look at some things, and we'll begin here in Revelations chapter 12 and verse 10. And Revelations chapter 12 and verse 10 says, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren", which is Satan, "is cast down".
Now, here's one of the first things I want you to begin to implement in your life in order to overcome regret. Number one, defeat Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren and the sister. Defeat Satan through the power of the blood of Jesus. You can defeat Satan through the power of the blood of Jesus, and the Bible says that he accuses us before our God, and he's doing it day and night, day and night. Now, notice the Scripture here in verse 10 refers to Satan as the accuser of the brethren, who accuses us day and night.
Well, what does it mean to accuse somebody? It means to charge them with a fault. Satan's always saying, "It's your fault. Oh, look at where you are right now. That's your fault. Remember what you did or didn't do in your past. Look at what's happening here. That's your fault. Remember what you did or didn't do in your past". He loves to charge you. To accuse someone is to charge them with a fault or to place the blame. When regret comes up from doing something, Satan wants to accuse you or place the blame on you. He wants to condemn you and blame you and saying, "Look at what you did. This is your fault. We place the blame on you".
It also means, to accuse means to impute. It means to charge you with something. It means to charge you with the sin you did, and Satan loves to say, "Well, the reason why that didn't happen is because of the sin you did, and the reason why that didn't happen is because the way you did that, or did that. And if you'd did this a little bit better, then that would've happened a little better, but you didn't do it". And they charge the sin on your account.
I wanna establish this first thing: that all of that accusation comes from Satan and not God. Look at the book of Romans chapter 4, verse 8. All of that accusation, when Satan imputes sin upon you, or he charges the fault to you, or he charges and places the blame to you, or he condemns you, that comes from Satan. That is so important. That was just an eye-opener, when I began to realize that it comes from him. It comes from him. He's the accuser of the brethren, but it's not God.
Look at verse 8. He says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin". So, God's not charging sin to your account, but Satan is. God's not charging the fault to your account, but Satan is. God's not the one blaming you for where you are or where you should be, but Satan is. He is actively doing this day and night and as Christian people, we've got to be careful not to join the army of accusers. We got to be careful not to participate in the accusation of one another.
And so, we have an enemy who loves to remind us of our sins and our failures. He loves to remind you of your... some of you get up every day, and you're reminded of your sins and your failures. That's the enemy. That enemy is Satan. He is the accuser of the brethren, and so by accusing us he can get us to focus more on our failures and less on our Savior. That's the purpose. "I wanna accuse you so you can focus more on your failures".
Think about that. Think about there are people that spend more time focusing on their failure than those who spend time focusing on their Savior. He would have us dwell on our sins. He would have us to wallow in self-pity, rather than to serve others. And we're so self-centered, wallowing in our self-pity, that we forget that there are other people that need to be served. Well, how can we move from our own feelings of regret to a place where we overcome regret?
Well, the Scripture tells us in the very next verse, Revelations 12:11. How can we move from our own feelings of regret to a place of overcoming regret? Verse 11 says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony". What does that mean? He says they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb, and they gave testimony about what the blood of the Lamb has accomplished. It's not overcoming him by the blood of the Lamb and giving your testimony about peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I mean, it's cool to talk to people about that, but in this context he says they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and testifying about what the blood of the Lamb have done.
By the blood of Jesus, I've been made the righteousness of God. By the blood of Jesus, I have been forgiven of all of my sins: past, present, and future. By the blood of Jesus, I have the wisdom of God. By the blood of Jesus, I am holy. By the blood of Jesus, you overcome him, and then you testify of what that blood has done. He said so we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony about what the blood has accomplished. "And they loved not their lives unto death".
So, the blood of Jesus has washed us clean of all of our sins. Think about that. The blood of Jesus, you remind yourself. When regret comes, remind yourself, "Hey, man, the blood of Jesus has cleansed me of all of my sins". And here's the devil trying to impute sins and the guilt and the condemnation on your life. Look what it says here in the book of 1 John chapter 1 and verse 7. The blood of Jesus has washed us of our sins and cleansed us. He says in verse 7, "But if we walk in the light". Walking in the light is walking in Jesus. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sins".
That's what you need to remind yourself of when the enemy comes and brings accusation. "Wait a minute, devil. Hey, hey, I don't know if you forgot or what, but the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses me from all of my sins". Jesus paid for every failure. Now, listen to this. Jesus paid for every failure in your life before and after you believed in him. Yeah, he paid for every failure in your life before and after you believed in him.
Now, I know. I know what you're thinking. "Well, I know that he paid for every failure after I believed in him. Are you telling me that he paid for my failure even before I believed, even before I became a Christian"? Oh, yes, absolutely. Let me show it to you in your Scripture. 1 John 2:2, and then Saint John 1:29. See, Jesus paid and dealt with your sins before you believed him, amen? Before you believed him. Now, watch this. Verse 2, "And he", Jesus, "is the propitiation". That means he's the payment or the compensation. That he, Jesus, is the payment, the compensation. He, Jesus, is the peace offering for our sins. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Check it out. How many of you know you were part of the world at one time, and Jesus said, "I am gonna go ahead and pay for the sins. I'm gonna be the compensation and the payment and the peace offering for the sins, not only for those of you who believe in me but those who don't believe and those who are in the world, their sins are paid for". So, if you go to hell, you go to hell because of your sin. You go to hell with your sins being paid for. See, people don't go to hell for sinning. They go to hell for rejecting the payment and the compensation and the gift that Jesus has given us when he paid for all of our sins.
Look what he says in Saint John chapter 1:29. Saint John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world", which taketh away the sins of the world. Jesus paid for every failure both before and after we believed in him. You see, we silence Satan's accusations by turning to Christ every time he accuses us. Every time he accuses you, every time he wants to bring regret, we silence him by turning to Christ, by remembering what Jesus has already done.
You know, we have so many people that are constantly preaching how God's gonna get ya. "Oh, brother, God's gonna get ya. Oh, you did that. God's gonna get you. Aw, you messed up. God's gonna get you". And I constantly think about this picture of a two-year-old child learning how to walk. And, you know, when that two-year-old learns how to walk, he starts off with, you know, standing up, and we rejoice when he stands up. And before he takes a step he stands up, and then he falls down.
Well, you know, will the parent get 'em because they fell down and didn't continue to stand? And in the process of time he finally takes a step, and then he takes another step, but he falls down. Does the parent get him and punish him and condemn him to hell because they're working the process? And then, they get up, and they begin to walk, and walk again. And when they fall down, the parents encourage them, say, "Come on, keep doing it, keep doing it".
And see, we gotta change our thinking about that. You become a born-again Christian, you're like that two-year-old trying to learn how to walk, and God is not condemning you, and God is not beating you up, and God is not punishing you because you fall in the process of learning how to walk and learning how to mature. But what God does is he encourages you, and he says, "Come on, get on up. Come on, come on, come on, get on up. Let's do it again, come on. Let's get on up and do it".
But there are some Christians who say, "Oh, you fell, and God's mad at you, and he's gonna get you, he's gonna", that's not God. God's just like the parent of the two-year-old. He continues to encourage you, "Come on, keep coming, baby. Oh, yeah, I know you fell, but come on. Come on. Oh, yeah. Ooh, you failed, and you bumped your head. Oh, that's nasty, but get on up. Keep coming". That's the kind of God that we have, and we gotta quit condemning people to hell because they fell, because God's encouraging them to get up and keep walking. "Because I'm preparing you for a place of maturity that's gonna be a blessing in life".
And so, yes, we failed, but every failure was paid for in full at the cross. Yes, yes, we failed. Yes, listen, there's nobody alive that doesn't have failure, and Satan wants to get your past failures and use it to put you into regret. And I wanna encourage you, yes, we have failed, but every failure was paid for at the cross. It was paid for in full at the cross of Jesus Christ, amen? Let's look at the second way of overcoming regret, the second way of overcoming regret found in Romans chapter 8, verse 1.
Number two, and this is an act of pulling it up in your mind. Remember that there is no condemnation in Christ. Satan loves to condemn. And you've gotta remember when you're sitting there thinking about something that happened in the past, allowing regret to come in, that's when you need to respond and say, "Wait a minute. There is no condemnation in Christ". Every time regret shows up, you need to say that out loud, "There's no condemnation in Christ".
Look at verse 1, Romans 8. He says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit". No, I believe there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, period. Whether you walk according to the flesh or walk according to the Spirit. If you study that out, the rest of that Scripture was in italicize, which means it was added. Here's what it says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus", period.
And every time regret comes up you need to open your mouth, and you need to say out loud, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". The more you thank God for this truth, the less you will feel condemned. I believe that. Overcoming regret requires remembering that there is no condemnation for us. You overcome regret. And every time that regret comes up, you remind yourself, "I'm in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus". That's what Satan wants to do. He wants to condemn you. Condemnation is all about not being enough, not being enough, not being enough, and then he reminds you, "See, look at what you did in your past. See, you're not enough. You're not enough". There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Thank God for that. Praise God for that.
Number three, here's the third way to overcome condemnation: leave the past and move forward. Leave the past and move forward. It seems like Satan is the only one concerned about the past. You're gonna have to put that where it belongs. You know, we all have a past, but we don't need to live there anymore. We don't live in our past. We all have a past, and we got recent pasts, but we don't live there anymore. You've got to learn how to step away from your past. Yeah, there are things that happened, but you know what? It's happened, it's in the past. It's been done.
Why are you occupying and wasting time for something that it's already done back there? Leave the past and come on up. It's a part of the two-year-old process, is what happened in the past was what I did to learn how to walk. I can walk now real well, but there was a time where I'd take a step, and I'd fall, and I'd take a step and I'd hit the coffee table, and I'd take a step. That's in the past. I'm not considering that anymore. I'm walking now. Glory be to God.
Philippians chapter 3, verse 13 through 14. Paul is somebody that I thought about. He's talking about my God having to go forward after all of the things that he had in his past persecuting the church. I was even thinking about even when he died and went to heaven and he had to meet all those people that he killed and persecuted. Wow, look at this. He says, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do".
Out of everything he could have did, he says, "This is one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Because if I don't forget what's behind, then Satan can take what's behind and cause me to live in regret and paralyze me from reaching forward". And verse 14 he says, "I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". He says, "I cannot afford to continue to remember the past and allow it to rob me of what I'm going after in my future".
That's a lot of Christians. You're still stuck in the past. You're still stuck in the past. You got to let that go, and you got to go forward. And I know there were some disgusting things in that past, and I know there was some condemning things in that past, but you got to decide, "I'm going to live there or I'm going to press towards where I'm going". And I've had to make my mind up as a human being and as a Christian and as a preacher, "I'm not going to allow the past to wrap an anchor around my ankle and keep pulling me back to a place where God has delivered me from. I won't do that".
Listen to me very carefully. Paul probably had many regrets as one who persecuted the church. He threw believers into prison. He separated parents from their children. He watched and approved when the Jews stoned Stephen. Think about that. Look at what he had to deal with. And he thought he was really carrying out the law of the Mosaic Law by doing all of this, but then when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and gave his heart over to him and realized this gospel of grace, he's like, "Oh, Lord, look at what I did". He would have never been able to move forward because of the disgusting things of the past trying to bring regret to distract his focus from what Jesus was calling him to do.
But Paul did not dwell on his sins. You know what he said? He says, "I forgot what lay behind me". Paul intentionally, when I say forgot, he intentionally did not focus on these sins, but he focused on the prize and he focused on pursuing Christ. That should be us today. That should be us today. My focus is on pursuing Christ. That's my focus. My focus is on pursuing... listen, if you don't stop focusing on the regrets of your past, you will be paralyzed and stranded attached to your past while everything that God's called you for, anointed you for, encouraged you to continue walking for, all those things that he did to get you ready for now, he knew you had to fall and go through stuff before you could be prepared for now.
Some of you are going through things right now trying to figure out, "Why is all of this happening"? I believe you are a bride in preparation. I believe there are some mighty things getting ready to happen in your life; but like Paul, it's time for you to press. Press because it's not a piece of cake like what I'm saying. Man, some of those things come up in your thinking and you got to respond immediately to cast them down because, you know, you regret it so bad. "Oh, I wish I had did this. Oh, I wish I would have took my kids to school every morning. Oh, I wish I would have taught them this. Oh, I wish I hadn't said that. Oh, the ugly thing I did to that friend. I wish I hadn't run them away. Oh"... And you find yourself stuck right there not focusing on where God wants to take you, amen.
Number four, here's the fourth way to overcome this regret. Well, let's go to Romans. Well, Romans 8:28, and let's look at it in the NLT first, Romans 8:28. Number four, thank God for using the good and the bad for the good. Thank God for using the good and the bad for your good. You see, God cannot only use the good for your good, but he can also use the bad for your good. You know, you probably don't even understand how God can take the biggest mess that you probably created in your life and how he's used that to bring you where you are right now.
God knows how to do that. He's the only one I know that can take a mess and turn it into a masterpiece. And I know you beat yourself up and you think, "I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I said that. I can't believe I allowed that particular thing to happen in my life". And, honey, I got to tell you, God's the only one I know that can take all of your good and all of your bad and use it for all of your good. He is the master builder. He is the potter, and we are the clay. And he takes all of that stuff that's called your life; and when he finishes, it's a masterpiece.
I like Romans 8:28. I notice this. He says, "And we know that God causes", God causes, God causes, "everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them". God can cause everything to work together. I don't know how God takes these broken pieces and mix it with this good stuff and he can turn out a masterpiece, but he does. God causes all things, even our sins, to work for good.
Now, that's not saying and it doesn't mean that you should sin intentionally because God can work it for the good, but it just simply means that we can know even when we have blown it somehow that God will turn it into our good. So rather than allowing regret to dominate your thinking, allow this to dominate your thinking; that, "I blew it back then". But you can look right now and say, "Wow, look at what he's done to turn it into good".
You know, the world looks at you based on your past, and there's no way they're even understanding what I'm saying right now, but God takes the things you have blown in your life. God can bless you even when you made a mistake or even when you missed it. How can you not serve a God like this? How can you not serve a God like this? So, you can't use your blown past as an excuse to not go forward 'cause God's using every bit of this thing called life to make you and to ready you for the purpose that he's called you to this earth to accomplish. Amen, praise God, amen, praise God, amen, praise God. And amen, praise God, amen? So when tempted to fall into the pit of regret for past failures, you need to praise God that he will cause even your failures to work for your good.
Number five, don't forget that God's desire for us is to be fruitful in good works, that God's desire for us is to be fruitful in good works. And I remember in Galatians, I believe, he said, "The only thing I want you to believe is in the one that I sent you". And God wants us to be fruitful. Your life is a life of bearing fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is available so you can bear that fruit. Look at Ephesians chapter 2:10 in the NLT. Ephesians chapter 2 and 10 in the NLT, he says, "For we are God's masterpiece".
Praise the Lord for that. We're God's masterpiece. I receive that right now. We are God's masterpiece. You receive that right now. "He has created us anew in Christ Jesus". Why? "So we can do the good things he planned for us a long time ago". God's planned some good things a long time ago for your life, and you have been in the process of readying yourself for those good things that God has planned a long time ago. Look at Jeremiah 29. Jeremiah 29, verse 11 in the NLT, he says, "'For I know the plans that I have for you', says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'".
You're thinking about all of the things that you've blown in your past, and God says, "I've got some plans for you. They're good". He said, "They're not for disaster". He says, "I will give you a future and I'll give you a hope". And God's going to use all of that to bring you to the place where you need to be. We can be tempted to think that our failures throw a permanent shadow over our possible fruitfulness, but listen to me carefully. No matter how much we have failed, God's Word says he has good works for us to walk in. And so when we fall, we need to get back up. We need to get back to work. He's not done with you yet. Don't stay there. Don't do like the commercial: "I've fallen and I can't get up". Get up, get up. God's going to use that failure, God's going to use that situation somehow someway because he knows the plans that he's planned for you. They're good and they are not for disaster.
Number six, transform your regret into thanksgiving. Transform your regret into thanksgiving. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 18, here's what he says. "In everything", in every circumstance, in every circumstance, even the ones that you're regretting, he says in every circumstance give thanks. So when the regret comes up, in that regret coming up you're like, "I thank God that I'm delivered for that. I thank God that I've learned from that. I thank God I've matured from that place". "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".
So thank God in all circumstances, even in the midst of temptation to regret. Thank God that he saved you and has forgiven you of all of your sins, that he works all things for good, that your failures remind you of your need for God. Thank God for his patience. Thank God for his long-suffering with you. Thank him for his steadfast and his steady love while you were learning how to walk. Turn and transform your regret into thanksgiving.
And then number seven, use your failures, number seven, as a tool to keep you humble. Oh, I tell you what. That's what I do. Anytime I think that I'm better than somebody or I got it better than somebody, you understand what I'm saying. Anytime I want to, you know, walk in a situation where I think I'm more important than somebody or I got the right to, you know, speak down at somebody, my failures in the past become a tool to keep me humble. I think, "Man, I can't beat them up because something similar happened to me". I think, "Well, I have no right to do the same thing that other people did to me".
I want to make sure that I can use my failures as a tool to keep me humble, a tool to say, "God, I can't do nothing without you". A tool to remind me that every time I think about being self-righteous or every time I think about, "I don't need God", and every time I think about, "Well, you know, I've been doing this for quite some time now. I don't need to pray about it". No, that's a tool. I use my failure as a tool. You think you're high-minded. No, I use my failures as a tool.
Some of us forget that without God we wouldn't even be where we are right now, and we forget our failures. We forget the things that have happened in our past. And I get what you're saying, we talked about that, but I'm talking about you can take those things when they come up and you can use them as a tool. My past failures remind me that I am capable of anything apart from the grace of God. That's what they remind me of, and I thank God for his grace.
You see, God doesn't want us to be paralyzed by regret, and so let's not focus on regret. Let's focus on Jesus and his finished works. Let's have courage to walk this journey out. Let's have courage that would take to say, "You know, I know I'm not perfect. I know I'm not flawless. And when I missed the mark, I'm going to keep going". And as you live and all of those failures and falling Satan wants to use it to accuse you with, just remind yourself you had enough courage to walk from that spot to where you are right now today.
Don't allow regret to rob you of focus, where you're no longer focusing on Jesus and his finished works. Don't allow regret to steal time from you; time that you can be focusing on the Word of the Lord for your life, time that you can be focusing on what you got in prayer, time that you can be focusing on what you got while you were meditating in the Word; and you spent that time in regret, giving birth to all of those old emotions that were so painful in your past. We can be free from regret. We can be free from a guilty conscience. And I pray these two messages over the last 2 weeks have given you the tools that you need to walk free from it and to be prepared and continue to prepare yourself for what God is bringing you to. It's a good work, not disaster. It's an awesome thing.