Joyce Meyer - Getting Past Guilt
Well, thank you for joining me today. I'm so glad that you love the Word of God enough, to actually sit and watch a tv program, that's all about the Word of God. You know, I had a dream last night that today I was supposed to teach on guilt. And it's not what I intended to teach on. And a lot of times when I have dreams, to be honest, the next morning I don't remember them. But after I was up, a little while, this morning, that came back to my heart. And I really feel like it was God speaking to me, that he wanted me to teach on guilt today. And I believe that there are some people watching today, that you desperately need to get past your past, and realize that God has a good future planned for you.
Now, I'm gonna say that again. Some of you need to get past your past. You're stuck in a mistake that you made maybe a long time ago. And you parked at that mistake, and you really have felt like you could never get over that, or get beyond it. But that is a lie from Satan, because God always has new beginnings for people, and fresh starts. Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's own handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned ahead of time) for us [taking paths that he prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which he prearranged and made ready for us to live]".
Now, really, what all this means is that God prearranged, he predestined, a good life for all of us. He has prearranged and predetermined, that we should all do good works, and live a good life. But you know, just because God predestined something or he predetermines it, that's his side of it, that's what he wants, but we still have to do our part. I always say that, "Everything in the Word of God is not a positively, it's a possibility". It's a possibility for you to live a great life, because God has said that you could. And there's a possibility for you to do good works, and have a wonderful life, but you have to do the part that God gives you to do.
Jeremiah 18:1-4 says, "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord said: 'arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words'. So, I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand: and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do". You know, that's kinda like all of us. I mean, we all messed up. We all sinned, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". But we can repent, and that means to turn, and go in another direction. It doesn't mean just to be sorry that you did something. That's part of it, to be sorry that you did it, but you have to be willing to turn from it, and go in a new direction. And no matter how many mistakes you've made in your life, God is a forgiving God. He never runs out of forgiveness. He never runs out of mercy. And if you're willing to turn now, and do the right thing, you can overcome the mistakes of your past, and still get in on that good life, that God prearranged and made ready for you to live.
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ". Now, to be in Christ just means that you have received him as your Lord and Savior. You believe that God sent Jesus. And that he died on a cross for your sins, paid the price for your sins, and my sins and everybody's sins. He took the punishment that we deserved. And you believe that he died for you, and he rose from the dead. And that he has provided a way for you to have a good life. So if you're in Christ, it says, "He is a new creation: old things have passed away: and new things have come". And you might say, "Well, Joyce, the mistakes that I've made, I made after I became a Christian". Well, same plan, God's still got a good plan for your life. You can still be forgiven. You can still start fresh. You can still start over. Somebody today needs to get unstuck, and you need to say, "Goodbye to guilt. Goodbye, I'm not gonna waste my life feeling guilty anymore".
You know, guilt doesn't change anything. The Bible says in Isaiah that Jesus paid for our sins and remove the guilt. If the sin is forgiven, the Bible says that it's moved, "As far as the east is from the west," which means you can't find it anymore. God not only forgives our sins, but he forgets them, and moves them as far as the east is from the west. So, if the sin is no longer there, then the guilt can no longer be there. Romans 8:1 says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". You know, I suffered with guilt, terribly. My father sexually abused me, and somehow or another, the enemy convinced my little girl mind that it was my fault. And I carried that guilt around. I kinda had a habit of guilt, if I didn't feel wrong, I didn't feel right.
Let me say that again, if I didn't feel wrong, I didn't feel right. Every day there was something new for me to feel guilty about, because I had a habit of guilt. And I punished myself, by refusing to enjoy my life. All I did was work. I thought as long as I was working, then maybe God would be pleased with me. But I certainly couldn't think about enjoying my life or enjoying myself. And I think a lot of you are also addicted to guilt. It's a huge problem for people: guilt and condemnation and shame. You can be ashamed of what you did, but you should never be ashamed of yourself. You know, people that are spiritually mature, can make a mistake, confess it, admit it, be sorry for it, repent, be willing to turn in a new direction, and then say goodbye to guilt. They don't keep carrying that guilt around with them.
You might say, "Well, Joyce, I feel guilty". Well, here's the thing we have to talk about today. Are you gonna believe the God of your feelings, or the God of the Bible? It's one of the biggest problems we have. I feel, I feel, I don't feel. There's nowhere in the Bible that teaches us to be led by our feelings. We're to be led by the Word of God. And you know, even after I made a decision, because I had plainly learned from the Word of God, that guilt was not doing me any good, it wasn't something God wanted me to have, I knew that I had repented sincerely, and that I was sorry for the mistakes that I had made, I'd still feel guilty. But one of the things I did was, when I felt guilty, I'd say, "I'm forgiven and the guilt has been removed and completely washed away".
And you know, that's one of the ways that you fight back at the devil. It's not God telling you that you're guilty, it's the enemy telling you that you're guilty. He doesn't want you to enjoy your life. Guilt fixes nothing. No matter how guilty you feel, it would never be enough to pay for your sins. Jesus paid for your sins. And there's no more sacrifice to be made. He was the one and only sacrifice that was needed. Now remember, repent means to turn and go in another direction. Today, you have an opportunity for a new beginning. And if you make a mistake today, tomorrow you can have another opportunity for a new beginning. We have an opportunity for a new beginning. We become new spiritual clay for the Holy Spirit to work with. The Holy Spirit wants to work with us, but we have to be willing to work with him.
As I said, God's plan for us is not a positively, but it's a possibility. God will always do his part. And if you do your part, you and God, together, are gonna have a success in your life. Luke 18:27 says, "What is impossible with man is possible with God". Let me tell you something, you have not sinned so much, there is nothing you've done that is so bad, that God can't forgive it, and wash it away. The only thing you can do with your mistakes is learn from 'em, and don't make the same ones again, and again. God offers us a new beginning, and all we need to do is receive it by faith. He no longer remembers or holds our past against us. He forgets it, and we need to forget it, too. Some of you need to forgive yourself, which is really just another way of saying, you need to receive God's forgiveness.
When I was a young Christian, Dave and I'd only been married a few years, and every night I would kneel down by my bed, and I would pray for forgiveness. And I was talkin' about the same old sins over, and over, and over. And I wasn't really used to hearing from God back then, that was a new thing to me. But I heard God speak in my heart and say, "Joyce, I forgave you the first time you asked me, now you need to forgive yourself". See, I'm talking to those of you today, that you've been asking God to forgive you, but you've never really received it. You just keep hangin' on to the guilt. And it's really Messing your life up. God wants you to get unstuck today, from that place that you been stuck in. Remember, there's no sin too great for God to forgive. The Holy Spirit bears witness to us.
Hebrews 10:14-17, I'll just read it all, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all times those who are being sanctified". Now, I love this because it's teaching us what's a very important thing, that we need to know about the word. It says, "He has perfected us and we are being sanctified". Now, you have a spirit, you have a soul, you have a body. When you're born again, your spirit is all cleaned up, and everything is made new, and you're perfected, and sanctified, and justified, and you're just wonderful, you're made right with God. But you still got some problems in your soul, which is your mind, your will, and your emotions. There's still spiritual growth that needs to take place.
One of the ways I like to explain it would be like, if I gave a little kid one of my husband's coats. He'd have the coat, it would be his and he could say, "I have this coat". But he'd still have to grow into it, in order for it to look right on him. And that's the way we are. We have Christ and all the good things that he's done for us. But we have to grow into those things that he's put on the inside of us. So he said, let me read this again because he says, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified". So, he has made us right with God, when we receive Christ, but we are learning how to wear that righteousness, and how to make right decisions. God offers all of us a new beginning, and all we need to do is receive it by faith.
"And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us: for after saying, 'this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,' declares the Lord: 'I will put my laws on their heart and I will write them on their minds'", now, listen to this, "And he adds, 'I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more'". That's for you today. God's saying I've forgotten about it. If you've repented, God's forgotten about it. So quit talkin' to him about stuff that he's forgotten, receive his forgiveness, get unstuck. And believe that God is big enough, and good enough to give you a good life, even though you don't deserve it. To forget doesn't mean that you can't remember. God could remember if he wanted to, but he's chosen not to focus on the past. And we don't have to keep sacrificing, in some useless effort to pay for our mistakes, Jesus has already paid.
Lot of times we sacrifice by just being unwilling to enjoy the new life that Jesus died for us to have. You don't have to sacrifice your future. You don't have to park your life at the point of your failure, and stay there forever. You can press past the guilt, and you will have to press a little because the devil wants to keep you in it. Press past it, don't live by your feelings, and be determined that you're gonna have that good life that Jesus died for you to have. Now, you know, all throughout the Word of God, we see people who had a past, but they overcame it. Peter, who was one of the greatest apostles, was a man with a past. Well, will God still be able to use us if we had a past? I think sometimes God can use you more, if you did have a bad past, because you've had experience with God. You've had experience with the goodness of God. And you can share with other people, what God has done for you. Peter wasn't anyone special, he was a fisherman, and a rather rough and crude one at that, when Jesus said to him, "Follow me". And Peter immediately left his fishermen job, and he began to follow Jesus.
Peter had a good heart, but he had some weaknesses. For one thing he was, he had a problem with pride. He thought he knew more than what he really knew. In Matthew 16:22 and 23, we see a scripture where Jesus was telling his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer now, and get prepared for the crucifixion. And Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, the Bible says. Now, what kinda pride would you have to have to rebuke Jesus? I mean I can't imagine doing that. But Peter took him aside and said, "Oh, no Lord, this must never happen to you". What he was saying was kinda like, you've gotta be wrong, this can't be right. And Jesus looked at him and he said, "Get behind me, Satan"! He wasn't really calling Peter, Satan. But he knew that it was Satan working through Peter's weakness, trying to get him not to go to the cross. And we need to learn to recognize when Satan is operating in our lives, and not just lay down and let him walk all over us. Learn how to say, "No" to the devil.
There was another time when Jesus was tryin' to tell Peter that he needed prayer, he needed, "Peter, I'll pray for you". And I don't think Peter thought he really needed prayer. He said, "You're gonna deny me". And Peter's like, "Oh, no Lord, everybody else might do it, but not me". It was just pride, he thought he was better than what he was. He thought he was stronger than what he was. You know, don't ever look at anybody else's sin and think, "Oh, I would never do that". Instead pray for them and say, "Oh God, please help me not to ever do that". Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to. Well, sure enough, Peter did end up denying Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times. And Jesus had told him, "Before, the rooster crows you're gonna deny me three times". And when Jesus was being questioned by those who were getting ready to crucify him, Peter said, "I don't know him". They said, "Oh, you're one of his disciples". "No, I don't know him". Three times he denied it and the rooster crowed. And Peter walked away sad.
Can you imagine how Peter felt? But the good news is, Peter realized what he'd done, and he went out and he wept bitterly. See, that's the point of transition, he was repentant, he was sorry for what he did. And after Jesus had been buried, and it was resurrection morning, "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they might go an anoint Jesus and prepare him for burial. But very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, 'who will roll away the stone at the entrance of the tomb'? And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back", and it was very large, "And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed". And he was an angel. "And he said, 'don't be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen: he is not here. You can see the place where they laid him'". But now, listen to this. "'but go, and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee'".
I love this story. I love the fact that he mentioned Peter by name, especially. He was the only one, he didn't say, "Go and tell James, and go and tell Matthew". He said, "Go and tell my disciples and Peter". You see, Peter probably felt at that point, that he was no longer a disciple. He probably felt at that point, that anything Jesus had to say, he wasn't sayin' it to him. But just like Jesus talked to Peter that day, he called him out, made a special point of saying you're included. I want you to know today, that God includes you. You are included in God's good plan for all of our lives. You've not been rejected. The good news is God is not mad at you. And you can receive his forgiveness and go on with the good plan that he has for you.
The Bible is full of people who made mistakes. Full of people who could of parked at their past, and never went on to be the great people that they were. King David committed adultery and murder, adultery and murder. Yet, he was forgiven, after he finally repented, which took him a year, which was sad. You know, sometimes we can try to ignore our sin, but your sin will find you out. The thing that's interesting about what David did, was he loved God, he wasn't wicked, he was weak. And you know, there's a difference in wickedness and weakness. And David remained king. Now, his house was never free from war after that. He did pay a price for what he did. But God still loved him, he still used him. And God still loves you, and he wants to use you, and in a great way. Ruth was a Moabitess, that means she worshipped idols. Yet, she decided to serve the one true God, and ended up being in the direct bloodline of David, and then Jesus Christ. Wow.
Rahab was a harlot, and she helped God's people, and ended up in the bloodline of Jesus Christ. Matthew was a man with a past. He was a despised tax collector, who became one of the twelve apostles. I think it's interesting, the men that God chose to be his disciples. And you know, he didn't get them accidentally. The Bible teaches us that he prayed all night, before he chose those 12. It wasn't an accident. And you know what? God has chosen you, too. And it doesn't matter what kinda past you've had, he wants to give you a new beginning. And you know, maybe you're a person who's never received Christ as your Savior. And what I'm sayin' today is very good news for you.
Well, there's a number on your screen and you can call it. And somebody'll be very happy to pray with you, and lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and answer any questions that you might have, about what it means to be saved, or to be born again. Today, you can start your brand-new life. God's mercy is new every day, the Bible says. And I always say, "That's because we used up all of yesterday's, and we need a fresh batch every day". You know what? Maybe you're watching this program, and it's early in the morning, and you've got the whole day left, I want you to enjoy this day, and to remember that you do not have to feel guilty, for all your past mistakes. All you need to do is be repentant. God bless you.