Joyce Meyer - Know Your Blind Spots
Tonight, I've decided to teach on: are you offending yourself? Now, this may be a message that you've never heard before exactly put this way, but we're gonna talk tonight about our conscience. It's so important that we have a healthy conscience. You can have an unhealthy conscience but you can also have a healthy conscience and I'm gonna talk to you about the difference. The Bible says that you need to be at peace with yourself. 1 Peter 3:11, three relationships where we need to have peace, be at peace with God, be at peace with your fellow man, be at peace with yourself.
So, I just want to ask, and I'm not looking for any outside answers, you don't even have to raise your hand, but are you at peace with yourself? That's good, sometimes. Do you have things hidden in the darkness that need to come out into the light? We need to learn to live in the light. Are you pressured by things that you're hiding? There's nothing worse than having secrets. You know, it's our secrets that make us sick. And the truth will make us free, only the truth can make us free.
Now, Matthew 18:8 and 9, "And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you". I'm in Matthew 18:8 and 9. "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you: it is better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire". Now, before you get bothered by this, Jesus said this. I'm just reading the book. "If your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away: it's better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell of fire".
Now, you know, you don't hear much about hell in the church these days. We don't have a lot of hell, fire, and brimstone preaching, but I think we need to talk about hell every once in a while. You think that's okay, pastor Tommy? We need to talk about hell every once in a while 'cause, look, we've only got two choices. When we're done here, it's up or down, one of the two. It's glory or fire. And I want to spend eternity in the right place and so that means that I have to make the right kind of decisions now, now. Everybody say, "Now". And stop putting them off, and putting them off, and putting them off, and putting them off.
And, you know, obviously when I teach in these conferences, I'm not just teaching for the people in this room. This is gonna go on television around the world and I know that there are many people that are watching, you're lost, you don't have a relationship with God, you're doing all kind of things that are bothering your conscience, or maybe you have done wrong things for so long that your conscience is so seared and hardened that you can't even tell that you're doing anything wrong anymore and that's even worse. But there's a little spark there that's lighting up a little bit right now.
Yes, there's hope for you and, yes, your life can change, and God loves you. And there is a real heaven, and a real hell, a real God, and a real devil, and every one of us is gonna stand before God at the end of our life and we are going to give an account for the way that we have lived, every one of us. I don't have to answer for you, you don't have to answer for me, but I do have to answer for the call on my life and the call on my life is to tell you God loves you but you cannot live in purposeful, continual sin and have any kind of a life that you're gonna be satisfied with. It's time for us to move upward, amen?
You know, we're always asking God to do things for us and he taught me a long time ago, every time you want to come up higher, a little bit more of your flesh has got to do down lower. Amen? There's a narrow path that God wants us to walk on and that means we don't get to do what everybody else does all the time. I want to call people tonight to a place of decision. I want ya to come up a little bit higher, just a little bit higher. Tonight, we're gonna talk about upward and onward. You know, to move forward, you gotta go upward and then onward. I've never heard the phrase, backward and onward, downward and onward. It's always upward and onward. I thought that was kind of interesting when I was thinking about that today. If we want to make progress, we've also gotta come up just a little bit higher.
Pastor Tommy preached a message one time that I really thought, I loved the title, so I borrowed the title and preached myself and everybody thinks it was mine but since I'm here, I'll give him credit for it. Called, The High Price of a Cheap Thrill. And so, we gotta be very careful that we're not just living for the moment as if tomorrow will never come because tomorrow will come. Amen? And how we live today affects the quality of our tomorrow.
You know, I am so glad... I told the people I was at lunch with today, I am so thankful for what I know. My gosh, I'm thankful for the 40 years of study that I've got behind me in the Word of God. I'm glad to know God. I'm glad when I do something wrong that right away, I can feel the conviction of the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful thing that is to feel that.
And let me tell ya something, you're investing time tonight the best way that you could possibly invest your time, to hear the word, to worship God, to be in this building with other people who are hungry for God in their lives. We couldn't possibly be any better place because when you sow to the spirit, you will reap from the spirit life and life eternal. When you sow to the flesh, you will reap, ruin, decay, and destruction. I'm sure all of us used to spend Friday night sowing to the flesh and the next day we had ruin, decay, and destruction. Well, tomorrow morning you may have a meeting hangover but it's gonna be one you're gonna enjoy. It's not gonna be one that's gonna make ya miserable.
So, what in the world does this mean? "If your hand offends you, cut it off. If your foot offends you, cut it off. If your eye offends you, pluck it out". Well, obviously he's not saying cut off your hands and your feet and pull your eyes out. That's not what he's saying but what he is saying is if there's something in your life, some behavior that is offending you, that is leaving you in a position where you're not at peace with yourself, then cut it off, get rid of it, get it out of your life because it's poisoning you and you need to deal with it and you need to deal with it now. "Well, I'm gonna do that... Tomorrow".
You know, there's the most pathetic story in the Bible about Pharaoh, when he would not let the people go. And God kept sending plague after plague after plague and he would say he'd let them go, then he wouldn't let them go. Finally, God sent this plague of frogs. I mean, there were frogs everywhere. I mean, frogs in the bed, frogs in the driveway, frogs in the oven, frogs on the table, frogs on the toilet if they had one. Frogs, frogs, and more frogs. And, you know, when you have frogs, you can't just go buy a can of frog be gone and squirt 'em a little bit. You gotta deal with 'em.
And so, Pharaoh finally said, "Okay, I'll let the people go". And Moses said, "Okay, you tell me when you want me to pray and when I pray, the frogs are gonna be gone". And he said, "Tomorrow". Now, who in their right mind would want to sleep with frogs one more night if they didn't have to?
Tomorrow could possibly be one of the most dangerous words in the English language when we know to do right and we do it not, it's sin. There are sins that we commit and then there are things that become sin because there's things we should do that we don't do. We need to do what God leads us to do. We have the privilege today, under the dispensation of grace, to not have to live under the law, but we are to be led, guided, and prompted, and controlled by the Holy Spirit of the Living God. God comes to live inside of us, he sends his Holy Spirit who is a Spirit of Truth, our Teacher, and our Guide.
And let me tell ya something, you hang out with God very long at all and you start getting in the word and stuff's gonna start bothering you that you've been doing all of your life and didn't bother you at all. Is anybody finding that out? I mean, I didn't know I did so many things wrong until I started studying the Bible. And see, in the beginning a lot of times, that upsets us.
We just think, "Well, how could anybody do this much stuff wrong? God, are you ever gonna go pick on somebody else"? But let me tell ya something, it is one of the greatest blessings that you can have. I mean it, to not be left alone in your sin. To think that wrong behavior is right is a terrible condition to be in and we've got a world full of people that now think evil is good and good is evil. And the Bible teaches us in Isaiah that the day will come toward the end times when people are gonna think that evil is good and good is evil and it's going on all over the place today.
And I tell ya what, I am so grateful, even when I watch television, that I think I'm so glad that I know that's wrong. I feel so sorry for people that sit and are just programmed by all that stuff coming into them and educating them and then they think that, you know, that's just what they're supposed to do. Whatever Hollywood says is okay, you go do it. I'm so glad that I can look at that and say, that's wrong, and that's wrong, and that's wrong, and that's wrong, and that's wrong. It's good to know what's wrong and what's right. "And I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants may live". Amen?
I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to just intersperse into my teaching, which I hope and pray is always well rounded, some of this kind of teaching because when Paul told Timothy to herald and preach the word, he said, "Warn, urge, encourage, and rebuke". And, you know, we don't like the rebuking part too much but anybody who loves us, any good parent is not just gonna pat a kid on the head all the time and tell them they're wonderful all the time. They're gonna let them know when they're doing something they shouldn't be doing because if we don't also bring correction through the Word of God, then we don't really love the people that we're teaching. Amen?
Come on, smile. It's hard enough to do this if I don't get a little help from you guys out there. Okay, if your eye offends you, pluck it out. Well, what does that mean? The biggest mistake that we make, the thing that leads us into sin is thinking that we can play with fire and not get burnt. Amen? If you work at a company and you're a guy and there's an attractive woman there, and she wears her skirts too short, and her tops too low, and her pants too tight but she is really good looking, and maybe you got a wife that's had four of your kids.
And gained a few pounds with each one, and you're starting to feel a little temptation and you're spending a little much time talking to the girl in the short skirt and the low top, let me tell ya something, you better run as fast as you can run. You better go read proverbs 8 and see what the Bible says about the man who gets involved with the loose woman and how it destroys and ruins his life and leads him into death. Come on, let's just don't give into all this stuff.
And ladies, don't stone me when I say this but if you're a godly woman, don't dress like an ungodly woman. Don't do that. You don't need to go to work and be a temptation for somebody. Amen? I don't know what you're expecting tonight but if you're a guest and somebody brought you and you've never heard me, you're probably thinking, "Man, I am getting out of here". I'm actually really very nice. I'm a very sweet, loving person and if this is too much for you, come back tomorrow and I'll tell ya how wonderful you are.
I've been doing a big study on the book of Ephesians and I'm gonna teach the whole thing. I've got it all laid out. I'm gonna teach it. And I'll tell ya why I absolutely love Ephesians. Chapters 1, 2, and 3, are all about who we are in Christ, how much God loves us, the grace of God, we're saved by grace. Over and over and over it just talks about who we are in Christ, and the inheritance we have in Christ, and how much God loves us. And he, you, know he loved us when we were still yet in sin. I mean, it's just like, boy, you got it by the time you get through chapters 1, 2, and 3, you are loved, you've got grace, you've got mercy. It's just I mean, mmm, yummy good.
And then we start chapter 4, "Therefore". Boy, every time you see a "Therefore," you better be very careful because now it's about to unload something on you that's there because of all this other stuff. So, he's saying, "Because of who you are in Christ and because of what I've done in you, therefore put on behavior, imitate God in all your behavior". And then the last three chapters are don't do this, and don't do this, and don't do this, and don't do this, and don't do this, and don't do this.
And you know what? Everybody's great with chapter 1, 2, and 3. We love all that. And the whole point is, is there's no point in trying to change your behavior. Don't even bother trying to work with God to change your behavior if you don't know who you are in Christ because you're just gonna live under condemnation every time you make a mistake. Learn who you are in Christ but then knowing who you are in Christ, don't feed on milk the rest of your life. Start eating the meat of the word and it's time to grow up. Amen?
I love it when God chastises me and if I was sitting out there, I would love this message tonight because I like stuff that confronts me and helps me recognize where I'm at and then helps me get to the next place where God wants me to be. I love it. I absolutely love it. When we sin against our own conscience and we're offending ourselves, how many of you see what I mean now by don't offend yourself? Okay, it's a real major problem. A guilty conscience is a really major problem because it blocks boldness. We need to come boldly to the throne and boldly ask God to do the things that we need him to do, and boldly ask God to use us but if we feel if we're condemned and we've got a guilty conscience, then we're not going to feel that we can go boldly and ask God for anything.
1 John 3:21, "And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us, then we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God, if our consciences don't accuse us and make us feel guilty and condemn us, then we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God".
A guilty conscience makes us shrink back in fear. We shrink away from God instead of going toward him. But Paul, I love what the apostle Paul said and it's in Romans chapter 9, verse 1. Paul said that his conscience bore him witness in the Holy Ghost. Thank God really if we're a mature Christian well versed in the Word of God. You don't even need somebody else to come and tell you your behavior is wrong, you know it right away. Thank God for the Holy Ghost. He's the light within us that continually guides us along the path that God wants us to be guided on. Walking with God is an awesome, amazing, wonderful adventure but as well as blessings, you're also gonna get some correction. Amen?
And I love it when people are convicted by the word and they come and say, "You know what? I recognize this is wrong in my life and I want to get it straightened out". This is not about beating anybody over the head or making you feel bad. All I'm saying is if there's something wrong, fix it. Amen? If there's something not right, don't sleep with the frogs another night, let's fix it. Let's leave it here. Let's don't wait until tomorrow and the day after, and the day after, and the day after.
And I'm not talking about things that you're dealing with that you're trying to get over that have been problems for you for a long time and you, you know, maybe you're working with a counselor. I'm not talking about people who are really trying to press on with God. I'm talking about people who just are messing around and just not really doing what you should be doing to get free. I believe this, I will go to my grave believing this, I don't think there's any way that a person can diligently really study the word and hang out in the presence of God and not change.
I don't think it's possible. You will change because that loving conviction, that chastisement of God will come on you and if you really love God, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me". He did not say, "If you obey me, I will love you". He's already decided to love you. So, this is not something I'm telling you you have to do to get God to love you. What I'm saying is if we love God, then we should just strive to do everything that we can do to please him, and to behave like him, and to represent him in the world in a way that's gonna make other people want a relationship with Jesus. Is anybody hearing what I'm saying tonight?
Are you struggling with guilt or condemnation? You know, it's so important that we learn how to follow the conviction of the Holy Spirit which indicates a healthy conscience rather than the condemnation of the enemy. Let me teach you how to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit in everything that you do. Then, I'll be back to answer some of the questions that you've sent in about this subject.
Romans 9:1, "I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying. My conscience (enlightened and prompted)". I love that, enlightened and prompted, "Prompted by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with me". So, Paul is saying, "Look, I know that what I'm doing is right. I feel good about what I'm doing because I have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. I don't just think I'm right because I want to think I'm right. I bear witness in my spirit that what I'm doing is right".
Being led by the Spirit is so much fun. It's just wonderful to be led by the Spirit. Every single day is a brand-new adventure. 'Cause I'll tell you the truth you never know what God's going to come up with, amen? It's good to have a plan, but you've got to put your plan before God and say, "You just take this, scramble it up, and do whatever you want to do with it. Your will be done". And I love this. I'll tell you there's nothing worse, nothing worse to me, there's nothing worse than having a guilty, condemned conscience.
Now, I want to tell you that I had addictive guilt in my life. And so, here's where this message can get a little tricky, but I want to try to help you understand because some people, when we do something wrong, we shouldn't feel good about it. When we do something wrong, there should be a godly sorrow, and even a grieving over what we've done. And for what I know and where I'm at in my walk with God now, when I do something that is wrong, especially like one of the things that will really bother me is if I really hurt somebody.
Oh man, that just tears me up, I hate that. And there was something that happened between me and another individual probably 10 years ago, and I didn't handle the thing like I should have as a leader in the body of Christ. I should have handled it a lot differently than what I did. I should have dealt with it a lot sooner than I did. I let it go on, and let it go on, and it turned into a big mess. And this person ended up really getting hurt. And still to this day, once in a while I will say to the Lord, "That's one thing that I really regret. I wish that I would have never done that". But that's not guilt, that's not me feeling guilty. That's not me feeling condemned. That's a healthy feeling. That godly sorrow, that the Bible says in James we should even grieve, and weep, and mourn over our sins.
And I have a little concern that whatever we think repentance is is not even repentance anymore. You know, it's not like, "Well, oops, I'm sorry, I missed it. Well, praise the Lord, no problem". You know, I don't think that's right either. We need to have the reverential fear and awe of God, and we need to be serious about things like hurting people. We need to be serious about things like greed, and jealousy, and things like that. Amen?
You say, "Well, can't I be forgiven"? Of course you can be forgiven. Of course you can. But you know, sometimes God will leave that little conviction in there, that little letting you know, "Man, don't do that, don't do that". To me, that's not guilt, that's a healthy thing. Guilt presses me down and oppresses me. But conviction lifts me up out of it. I know that that feeling is God loving me, letting me know that, "Don't do that, that's not good for you, that's not going to work for you. That doesn't please me when you do that".
And I hope that feeling never, ever, ever goes away in my life. I don't ever want to hurt people and not even know that I did it. I used to do that 40, and 30, and even 25 years ago, but I don't ever want to do that again. If I hurt somebody, I want to know that I hurt them, and I want to go make it right, and I want to make it right right away. You know, God gives us grace, but let me tell you something. The grace that he gives us was not cheap for him. And we should not cheapen it by not taking these things seriously.
Now, I had an overactive conscience. And it took me probably, I don't know, maybe the better part of 20 years to get completely okay. And it's important for me to try to share this with some of you because if I talk to you about your conscience and you've got an overactive conscience, I'm just going to send you out of here in a mess because some of you already feel guilty about everything you do, even things there's nothing wrong with. Amen? And you know, I was abused as a child. And my father was not only sexually abusive, he was just mean. And he was an unhappy man, and he didn't want anybody else to be happy. And so, I could remember getting in trouble for laughing and having fun. But I was good as long as I was working. If I was working, producing, then everything seemed to be okay.
So, when I come into my relationship with God and now I'm an adult, I didn't know how to do anything but work. I didn't know how to enjoy anything. I didn't know how to have any fun. So, I felt guilty if I even tried to lay down on the couch in the evening and rest, and watch a movie. I felt guilty about everything. It was a nightmare in my life. And I was talking to pastor mike today, and he said he went through the same thing. He was so hyper religious that everything had to be something spiritual. If it wasn't spiritual, then it wasn't God. And I went through that too. I felt fine as long as I was going to church, praying, doing Bible studies, talking about the word. But if I tried to go to a party, if I tried to do anything that was fun, then I would feel like, "Well, maybe I shouldn't be doing this". Is anybody understanding where I'm coming from?
Okay. I mean, these are things a lot of times we don't even try to talk about in church that we need to talk about. Well, the only thing I can tell you is if you stay in the word long enough, you're going to finally have a conscience that's, like Paul said, enlightened by the Holy Ghost. And you're going to be able to discern between what is some wicked kind of condemnation from the devil, and what is true conviction from God, amen? So like, for example, I mean, I had a great job when God called me into ministry. And I laid aside that job because I felt like God wanted me to prepare for ministry.
And we went through a lot of years of really, I mean, just not having anything. I mean, I've still got a prayer list at home on an old journal where I asked God to provide me with a skillet, some washcloths, some dish rags because I didn't even have the money to go out and buy that kind of stuff. And so, when God finally started prospering us and blessing us, I was so stinking religious and had such a guilty conscience that I couldn't even use any of the money that he gave me because I then felt like I had to give it all away to the poor. And so, I had to really, really have God, now listen to me, teach me that he wants us to enjoy our lives.
Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life, and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows". John 16:24 says, "Ask and receive that your joy might be full". John 17:13 said, "I want you to have my joy fulfilled and completed in you". You go over and read Ecclesiastes, and he says one of the best things that you can do is learn how to enjoy everything that God's given you. It's a gift from God to be able to enjoy. I don't even know how to tell you what a glorious day it was for me. That's why I call the TV program "Enjoying everyday life". I mean, it took me 20 years to learn how to enjoy what God was trying to give me. Does anybody else have a problem with that? A few over here, what about here? How many of you enjoy yourself too much, and you need to come back to the other?
So, when I tell you tonight to listen to your conscience, you've got to make sure that it's a healthy conscience. You've got to make sure that it's a conscience that is enlightened by the Word of God. Because only when you're full of the word can you really discern what's right and what's not. Now, let me just throw this out. Just because you feel guilty, that doesn't mean you are. You say, "Well, lady, you are confusing the living daylights out of me". I'm not telling you to follow guilty feelings. I'm telling you to follow the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
So, I actually got to the point where I would be trying to do something, and I would start feeling guilty about it, but I knew that there was nothing wrong with it. I knew that, and I finally would just say, "Devil, you can just have your fit and do whatever you want to do. I'm not guilty just because you're trying to make me feel guilty, and I'm not going to live in guilt the rest of my life that is not even real". But let me tell you something, honey. I know how to party now. And I'm not talking about doing wrong things, I'm just talking about I am into fun. I mean, I'm all over fun. I think we should laugh as much as we can possibly laugh.
See, we think that God only cares about spiritual things. God doesn't just live in the church. Amen? He doesn't just live in the church. Boy, I could really get myself in trouble here, but I'm going to try to behave. Stop dividing your life into what is sacred and what is secular, and thinking that God only is happy when you're in church, but he takes a vacation when you go to the grocery store or change the oil in the car. Going to the grocery store can be a holy experience too if you do it with God. This is about a relationship where he's involved in everything that you do, not just prayer, and Bible study, and going to church, and giving money.
Now okay, let me tell you something. When you start trying to really live a holy life, and holiness is not legalism. Holiness is the most beautiful thing in the world. And I personally, as a teacher of the word, I think one of the hardest things to do in my teaching is to teach people liberty without giving them a license to sin, and to teach them holiness without bringing them into legalism. It seems like we just constantly go... Years ago, we had a wonderful thing called the holiness movement. I didn't get to be part of that one, I kind of wish I would have. It should have been nice. But then that became just all legalism, and a lot of people involved in that just got to the point where they hated anything that had to do with any kind of religion because they really weren't being taught about God, they were being taught manmade rules and regulations. So then, boy, we got free.
Whoo, we're going to be led by the Holy Ghost. Well, that's all well and good if you know the word. But let me tell you something, all spirit and no word only makes you goofy. You become a fruit loop. How many of you know what I mean? We need the word and the spirit mixed together. If we just have all word, maybe sometimes that's not just always so exciting. We need a little Holy Ghost stuff thrown in there to get a little excitement in it. But we can't just have all emotional stuff. We've got to have some solidity in our life.
Joyce: Well, thank God for the Holy Spirit who continually guides and corrects us if we'll let him and that's the key. So now, let's dive a little bit deeper into this topic. Ginger's here with some of your questions about how to develop a healthy conscience. Well, Ginger, it's an interesting subject.
Ginger: It is. And, a lot of what you have been talking about with guilt, condemnation versus a healthy conviction from the Holy Spirit is really important. It can catch us up. And so, a lot of these questions are along those lines. So, Denise, from Missouri, says, "What is the difference between guilt and conviction"?
Joyce: Well, guilt always presses you down and makes you feel bad. Conviction, if you learn how to appreciate it and I think that's the key, actually, is God working in you to first cause you to recognize the problem and then to help lift you out of it or overcome it. And I know, for a lot of years, I would hear a sermon and the Holy Spirit would use it to convict me. But I didn't understand what we're talking about today and so, I would quickly let the devil turn that godly conviction into a demonic condemnation and I was missing the whole point of what God was trying to do in our life. The Bible says that God, "Chastises or corrects those whom he loves". And so, I've learned that to be thankful when God convicts me of something that I'm doing wrong because we all have blind spots in our life. We have these areas where we just don't recognize. And if, we had the boldness to sit down with a good friend and say, "How do you see me"? It probably wouldn't take very long and we'd be angry at 'em because...
Ginger: Hopefully, you'd still be their friend afterwards.
Joyce: Yeah, we have a tendency to make excuses for things and the minute that you make an excuse for something you're kind of, just found a neat little way to get rid of it. So, we at all costs we want to avoid condemnation because it just like being on a treadmill that you can never get off of it. It doesn't ever help your problem, it just makes you feel bad about it. But conviction, really God just wants you to say, "You know what? I see that. Thank you for showing me that. I'm really sorry. Will you help me overcome it"?
Ginger: So, much of it is about our perspective in seeing the way God looks at it, when he's doing it, because it is in love. It is so that we can become who he wants us to be instead of him saying, "You're bad".
Joyce: And to be honest, if we get really honest, the largest majority of people really, already feel kind of bad about themselves. And so, you have to have a healthy knowledge of who you are in Christ and then you can begin to receive conviction and appreciate it.
Ginger: This is from karen in Maryland, "The older I get, the more I think about the things I've done wrong in the past. I'm even dreaming about these things now. Why am I constantly remembering all of this"?
Joyce: Well, she's probably dreaming about 'em because she's thinking about 'em too much. And really, just a look at scripture, Paul says, "One thing I do, it's my one aspiration forgetting what lies behind". So, I don't think that's God trying to show her anything unless it's something she just never recognized or repented of, I think it's more the devil trying to draw her back into the past. And, you know, the past is past. The only thing you can do with the past is learn from it. You learn what not to do again or what to do again if it was something that brought blessings into your life. And so, just because you're thinking about things in the past, that doesn't mean that God's trying to get something through to you. Probably, she just needs to say, "Satan, I rebuke you in Jesus' name. I don't live in the past. I live in the future".
Ginger: Right, so that guilt is not what God wants.
Joyce: Guilt is never from God. It's either from the devil, or we do it to ourself. And a lot of times we just do it to ourself. Sometimes you can just be addicted to guilt. You know, I mean, I had such a bad problem with guilt after growing up being abused sexually by my dad and always feeling guilty because although he told me there was nothing wrong with it, he also at the same time told me we had to hide it. And so, even a little child knows if you've gotta hide what you're doing, you may not know it in your mind, but you know something's wrong with it. And so, I felt like something was wrong with me for so many years of my life. I mean, it was just like, I say, I was addicted to it because as odd as it sounds I didn't feel right if I didn't feel wrong. So, when I started to get a little revelation from God about this and had some days where I didn't feel so bad about myself, then the enemy would try the opposite and he'd come around and tell me that I was wrong for feeling right. We always have to go with the Word of God, Ginger. We have to go with what the word says and not what we think or what somebody else says. And the Bible says, "There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". So, if you're born again, if you're in Christ, then anytime condemnation comes, that's not from God.
Ginger: And that counts for all of us. Here's a question from Rita from Ohio. She says, "Does the Holy Spirit leave us when we sin? I know that he comes to dwell in us at the moment of salvation, and we are not to grieve him. I was saved, but became bitter and sinned terribly after divorce. Did God leave me at that point"?
Joyce: Well, once again, what does the word say? "I will never leave you nor forsake you, I'm with you to the very ends of the earth". No, I don't believe the Holy Spirit leaves us when we sin. I think he tries to draw us to repentance, and he tries to lift us out of that place, and teach us how to do right. But when, you've already done something wrong, to feel condemned about it, I'll say excessively, because I'm not gonna say that we shouldn't feel bad at all when we sin. I mean, in James the Bible says, "Grieve over your sins," but it doesn't mean to do it forever. So, you know, if I do something wrong, I mean, yeah, I feel bad that I've disappointed God or hurt him, but he knew I was gonna do it before I ever did it and still invited me into relationship with him. And so, the feeling guilty just is useless. It's just not at all, it's not gonna help you. And so, if you think about guilt, it makes you feel bad, gives you headaches, makes you grouchy, can make you hard to get along with, you can have all kinds of nervous issues from feeling guilty. And so, the Bible says, "You'll know them by their fruit". So, if you're doing something repeatedly that bears no good fruit, that's a sign that is not from God. But remember, God never leaves us. He's always with us, even when we can't feel him. And usually, if we can't feel his presence, it's because there is something that we haven't dealt with yet that we need to deal with.
Ginger: Right. Melinda asked this question. "I listened to a teaching about David committing adultery and it really condemned me. Can the devil use scripture to remind us of our sin"?
Joyce: Certainly, the enemy will use scripture, he'll take it out of context and use it in a way that can make you feel guilty about a number of things. You know, the scripture is like, it's a guidebook for where we're going. And yes, David did commit adultery and for a whole year he didn't deal with it. And finally, God used a prophet to lead him to true repentance. And if you wanna read what a true repentant heart sounds like, read Psalm 51. I mean, when he really admitted his sin. I mean, he was heartbroken over what he had done, and that's what God is looking for. So, David did all that and yet, God says, "David was a man after his own heart". So, how do you get those two to go together? Well, I've studied this and the point is, is David's heart toward God, even though, he got off track for a while and did some terrible things, his heart toward God was good. So, let's just say that... Is it Melinda?
Joyce: You know, the very fact that she's that concerned about this, tells me that her heart is right, but what she needs to do is not let the devil use that against her.
Ginger: So, how does she make that switch to instead of thinking, "Oh, you know, I'm condemned because of what I'm reading," to God can help me use this conviction in my life to help me to grow?
Joyce: Well, the answer to that is to believe the word more than you believe how you feel. So, she really needs to open up the scripture or like, get this teaching we're offering today. And instead, of just listening to me teach it, every time, I talk about a scripture, stop the recording for a minute and go look it up for yourself. It's amazing how important it is to actually see it for yourself.
Ginger: That's so true.
Joyce: There's something about seeing it for yourself. Listening is good, but we can use all these different avenues to make sure that we really, that we really get it.
Ginger: Yeah, we all learn so differently. And, for me, it's good to write it. When I write something, I remember it, and it just kind of stinks in. So, whatever it takes, right? So that God can begin to change those things in our hearts.
Joyce: Yeah, and I think also, just let me remind you today that, "Jesus came that we might have and enjoy our life, have it in abundance, to the full until it overflows". So, obviously, if we feel convicted of sin, we might not be all happy right this minute but repenting over that sin and letting go of it, and pressing on to the good things that God has for you is really the key. Now today, we're offering you four hours of teaching on, "Avoiding the trap of offense". And that's one of the things that so many people fall into. They're offended at someone else, could even be offended God because things have not happened for you the way you could even offend your own self by just the way you feel about yourself. And so, we really want you to have this teaching because this is a huge, huge problem in so many people's lives. So, we're offering this today, for your gift to the ministry of any amount. And you might say, "Well Joyce, what do you do with the money that we send in"? Well, we use it to keep the tv program on the air and especially, to continue reaching out to people that are hurting that haven't heard the message your hearing today, and they're in the condition that you've been in, in your life with no one to help them. So, don't let offense disrupt God's plan for your life. Enjoy the freedom that he wants you to have. God bless you and have a wonderful rest of the day.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Ginger: Joyce, we have a question for you today, this is a video question so, let's take a look and see what you have to say.
I have a son who's in a lot of trouble, and I don't know how to release the guilt from him. I'm looking for answers on how to release the guilt of not being a good enough father.
Joyce: Okay. So, how to release the guilt of not being a good parent. Well, I went through a little bit of that you know, 'cause I had some issues when my kids were little, especially, the couple of oldest ones.
Ginger: I think every parent will.
Joyce: And I remember, my son, one time, saying, "Well, I wouldn't be this way if you wouldn't have done thus-and-so. And so, boy, right away I started feeling guilty. But you know what God has taught me? Is that, first of all, there are no perfect lives. There's no perfect parents. Every child is gonna end up going through something. You know, and if it's not from their parents it's gonna be at school or somewhere else. And so, the only thing that can change any damage that's ever been done to anybody is certainly not guilt, it's God. And so, prayer is so powerful. And I believe, sometimes, I think we've heard the word prayer so much that we over spiritualize it. But truly, you can take anything to God and he can repair anything in anybody's life if they will just let them. And so, whether this man has been a bad parent or not, just because your kids get in trouble that doesn't necessarily mean that you've been a bad parent. I was actually, talking to my daughter this morning, who was at my house when I was getting ready to come here, and I was talking about a couple of things that I wish that I would have done different when they were growing up. And she said, "I don't think that would have made a difference". She said, "You know what"? She has four children of her own, and she said, "I think we all do the best we can for where we're at, at that time in life". And it just doesn't... Guilt is probably one of the most useless things in the world. So, the long and short of what I would say is, is no matter what you've done, you have two choices: you can feel guilty, or you can trust God to fix it. And there's nothing that he can't repair.