Joyce Meyer - No More Guilt
There's God being perfect, and here I am, now I'm born again and I got these little rumblings down in here that, you know, I want to change. I'm starting to get convicted about things that I used to not get convicted about at all. And so, the Holy Spirit's dealing with me and he's, you know, calling me to him, and calling me to him. And it's gonna be this whole lifetime thing.
So, now if I'm not careful, what I start doing is trying to change. You say, "Well, isn't that what you're telling us to do"? No, what I'm saying to do is to yield, yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. I can't change myself, but I can study the word. I can't change myself, but I can hang out with some people that might have a good influence on my life. Amen? I can't change myself, but I can want to change and I can pray that God will change me. I can depend on his grace because here's the thing, the minute that we start trying to do what God has asked us to do without asking him to help us, now he's offended. "Nope, you're not gonna do it without me. It's either gonna be me or you but it's not gonna be both of us".
So, when I'm telling you today to change, please don't go home and try, go home and believe. Amen? Go home and spend more time with God, hang on the vine. Have you ever seen an apple tree or some kind of a fruit tree going around...? No, the fruit comes out on the branches and all the branches do is hang on to the vine. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't put out any effort but it's not a fleshly effort, it's an effort in the power of the Holy Ghost and every step of the way I'm saying, "God, I need you," that way then we know that God gets the credit.
In 1 Peter 5:10 it says, "And after you suffered a little while, the God of all grace will himself complete you and make you what you ought to be". Well, why do I have to suffer first for a little while? Why in the world is that there? And this is what I feel like God is showing me about that scripture, when we ask God to deliver us from something, even though it's his will and the desire to change came from him, so I'm really just praying his will back to him, why doesn't it happen right away? Because sometimes God wants to give us a period of time to just suffer, that's the word the Bible uses.
So, when we do change, we know 100% that it was God. Amen? And, you know, here's the good news, whatever yet needs to be done when Christ appears, the Bible says that when he appears, we will all be changed in a moment of time. So, whatever's left to be done will be changed in that moment and we'll become just like him. Now, follow the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth. He teaches us to be who we are. So, let me just tell ya who you are. You are a holy, righteous, anointed, completely forgiven powerful son or daughter of the Most High, Magnificent God of all, that's who you are.
And how different that is when I used to get up. Before I'd ever even get out of bed, the devil's already rehearsing to me, rehearsing every mistake I made the day before and threatening me that I was surely gonna do it again today. So, you get up, "Life is so hard". "Oh God, what's wrong with me? I just don't know if I can go on like this anymore". And then if anybody, like if Dave would even try to, you know, correct me about something. I'd be, "That's right, it's all me". "Everything's my fault. I'm the worst person in the universe".
Anybody recognize that? That's why you're laughing. But now I get up in the morning and I'm like, I'm God's daughter. He loves me. He's made me right with him. There's no condemnation to those that are in Christ. I'm gonna have a great day. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He feeds us a constant stream of lies about our faults, our mistakes, our weaknesses, and our sins and we must resist him, not assist him by agreeing with him. Every time we agree with the devil, we're assisting him and we agree with God, we're resisting him. The whole point in learning what's in here is to believe it when you're out on your own.
So, here's the thing, if you have done something wrong in your past, today, this morning, on your way home, whatever, and you're sorry, you don't want to be like that so you've said to God, "I'm sorry, I receive your forgiveness and I'm repentant. I don't want to live like that anymore, God. I want to turn away from it. Help me. Help me". I say sometimes, "God, tie me to the altar and don't let me go until you get your way in my life," okay?
So, you have a choice now to either go home and apply what I'm telling you here today and when the accuser of the brethren comes to visit you and you start to... 'cause here's what he'll say. "Well, it did you a lot of good to go to that seminar. You're just wasting your time. You've been in church 20 years and you're still just the dumbest thing on the block". "You don't even act like you're saved". And then maybe you get really bad and you lose your temper with your family right after coming home from this. And then they'll tell you, "Well, that sure did you a lot of good". Unless you know who you are in Christ, you just try to crawl out from under that one, amen?
And that's when you need to just own up to it. You need to just say, "You know what? You're right. I'm not acting right and I'm sorry. It's my fault". That's the facing the truth that I said last night. See, you don't get defensive. "Yeah, well you don't do everything right yourself or if you would have cleaned this house up like I told you to, then I wouldn't have walked in here and got mad". Come on, some of you have already planned your failure. You're already thinking, "If I go home and that house is in a mess, and they didn't do what I told them too, boy am I gonna be upset". You need to plan to be sweet. Come on.
So, you own up to it, "You know what? Guys, you're right. I'm sorry, I did learn a lot this weekend and you are gonna see changes in me, but I need you to be patient with me while I'm growing". People respect you when you do that. They respect you. There's nothing that I despise worse than trying to deal with somebody who every time you try to say anything about they made a mistake, or they didn't do this right, or they need to change, they get defensive. It's so awesome just to hear somebody say, "You know what? You're right. Forgive me. Pray for me that I'll do that better in the future".
Now, Paul was a persecutor of Christians. It's so interesting to me the people that God chooses. How could Paul ever have gotten over feeling guilty? Somebody mentioned this morning, it's possible that he was teaching the children of people that he helped arrange for their murder. Try to get over that. Let's look at Philippians chapter 3.
Now, we're very familiar with verses 11 through, say, 14. "That if possible I might attain to this spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body. Not that I've already attained this or have been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of and make my own that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me". Verse 13, "I do not consider it my own but one thing I do, it is my one aspiration: forgetting what lies behind and pressing toward those things that are ahead".
So, Paul said there was a pressing, a pressing and to press literally means to press against the pressure. When the woman with the issue of blood pressed through the crowd, there was a pressure trying to keep her from getting to Jesus. And so, she just had like this holy determination, "Nobody's gonna keep me from getting to Jesus," and that's the way that we need to be. It's like when the devil comes again you with guilt and you already know, "I'm forgiven for this, God has forgiven me, he's forgotten it," you need to be able to say, "This is a lie from satan".
Now, listen to what I'm gonna say because this is very important for you to go home and do better in this. Just because I feel guilty doesn't mean I am guilty. Am I gonna believe my feelings or am I gonna believe the Word of God? You know, I found out that I can be confident when I don't feel confident. You know, you wouldn't know it but Thursday night when I was up here, I didn't feel as confident as I do today but I could still be confident because I know who I am in Christ, and I know that he's always with me and so sometimes I feel more anointed than other times but I believe that I'm always anointed and always called to do what I'm doing.
So, I ask you again, are we gonna serve and bow down to our feelings and let them rule us? If we do, satan is just gonna have a heyday with us. So, you go home and you feel guilty, that's when you open your mouth and say out loud, "Okay, I feel guilty, but I'm not because I've already talked to God about this and I am forgiven, completely and totally forgiven. You're not gonna steal my peace. Devil, you're a liar. You're the accuser of the brethren but I overcome you by the Blood of the Lamb and by testifying to the Word of God".
Talk back to the devil. I don't think I ever do a full seminar that somewhere in it I don't talk to people about confessing the word of God out loud, that's how much I believe in the power of doing that, calling those things that be not as though they are. I don't care how I feel, this is what I know. Amen? I may not feel forgiven, but I know that I'm forgiven. I may not feel loved, but I know that I am loved. And nobody can fight this fight for you, it's called fighting the good fight of faith.
I can teach you, I can give you the scriptures, but honestly, if this has been a real hangup in your life, I am not gonna tell you that I can wave some prayer wand over you today and send you home and you'll never have to fight this guilt again. I can tell you that eventually you can get to the point where it's not a problem in your life.
But let me tell ya something, we cannot run from Goliath and never defeat him. David didn't run away from Goliath. The Bible says he ran quickly toward the battle line. David was anointed to be king 20 years before he wore the crown and one of the things that he had to go through during this period of time was he had to become a giant killer. And if you want to wear the crown of the fullness of what God has for you in your life, and I want to wear the crown of the fullness of what God has for me, then I have to not be afraid of the devil and I have to learn how to stand up to him. I need to know the word and when the enemy lies to me, I need to open my mouth and say, "I don't care how I feel. I don't care what it looks like, this is what I know".
I'm excited. But now, before Paul said, "One thing I do is my one aspiration, forgetting what lies behind," there's a couple of other things that he says that allows him to come to the point where he can say, "I don't live with guilt and condemnation. I'm not where I need to be but I'm not worried about it". How awesome is that? I can know that I'm not where I need to be but I don't have to be condemned about it 'cause I know my heart and I know that by this time next year, I will be better than I am right now. I still won't have arrived but you just watch and see, when I come back here next year, I'll be nicer than I am this year. And you will be too.
But if you read this in context, he starts in verse 9 in chapter 3 and he says, "That I might be found and known as being in him, not having any righteousness of my own, but only that righteousness which he gives and ascribes". So, he starts out saying, "I must know that I'm made right with God. It's not my righteousness. It's not my ability to behave right but I have his righteousness". Now, we're on our way to defeating guilt but I'm telling ya, before you get there, you gotta know that you've been made right with God. You gotta know who you are before your do will ever change. Your who comes before your do.
And religion tells us if you do this, then you'll be acceptable but the Bible says you are acceptable, you're made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, now you can go out and gradually learn how to do the right thing. Are you there? So, that means somebody born again last night is just as righteous as I am after 40 years of teaching the Word of God.
Now, you don't think the devil's gonna let you in on that. Now, your behavior probably isn't quite as good as mine and mine probably isn't as good as somebody else's in here who's maybe been saved 50 years, I don't know. But the good news is is we're not made acceptable to God based on what we do. We're made acceptable to God first and if we understand what he's done for us, if we can see the beauty of the grace of God and what he's done in our lives, and we can understand how much he loves us, we get so excited that we cannot possibly want to do anything but pursue God, and pursue his will, and pursue his holiness, and his righteousness, and spend the rest of our lives trying to glorify him by being everything he wants us to be.
Come on. And we can never properly love God if we're doing it to get something. How can you get what you've already got? Everything already belongs to you. Everything that God's got is yours, amen, everything, everything. You know, I didn't have any money when I married Dave, but when I married Dave, he had a little money so all of sudden, I had money. When I married Dave, I didn't have a car, but he had a car, I mean a nice car, and so all of a sudden, I had a car. But you know what? I mean, I could go out and sign his name after we got married, and I had the same authority that he had with that name. But you know what? I didn't get any of that while we were dating.
Are you dating Jesus on Sunday morning or are you married? Have you said the for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part? "I'm in Jesus, I'm all in, and I'm not backing out. I know you love me, I know what you've done for me. You've forgiven my sins. You've died for me. You've paid the price for my sins. You've let me partake of your Holy Spirit. You live on the inside of me. And I'm not sure where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay and I'm on my way and there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus".
You say, "Well, what about the part that says who walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh"? 'Cause that's there. In romans 8:1, "There's no condemnation to those who walk after the Spirit and not in the flesh". So then right away we can think, "Well, that's my problem," you know? But what that actually is referring to is when you do make mistakes, you can follow the Spirit in solving them or you can follow the flesh in solving them. So, if I follow the spirit, he shows me the truth that I'm already forgiven and there's no condemnation, that I can shake it off and just move on. But if I follow the flesh, now I think I made a mistake and I have to pay. And so, the way I pay is feeling bad about myself.
You may have heard this tell this story but it was such an eye opener for me. Many, many years ago, I remember this, I can see it just like it's just now happening. I was feeling guilty about something, I don't remember what, it didn't matter 'cause I felt guilty all the time. My guilt was like a little burden, a little sack, heavy sack that I carried around with me everywhere that I went. I think it even makes you walk a little bit, you know, different. And so, I remember I was going to a target store and I parked way out in the back of the parking lot, and it wasn't 'cause my car needed to not get hit. It was already 20 years old. I don't know what my deal was, I think I just wanted to kind of pitifully walk across the parking lot and just have a little more time to feel bad about myself before I went into the store, amen?
And God began to deal with me, and this was what came into my spirit, "How do you plan to get over this mistake you've made"? Man, I knew the answer. "Well, I'll just receive the sacrifice that you made for me when you died on calvary". And then I heard this, "And when did you plan to do that"? And it was like I became aware that I had this system that I had built that how long I felt guilty was determined by how big I thought the sin was. My sins were kind of like small, medium, and large. You know, if it was a big one, I might be on a two or three week trip. Medium sins, you know, a week or so. Small ones, maybe a few days and so, I thought oh just being honest with God probably in a few days. And then this was what he made me aware of.
"Well, if that sacrifice is gonna be good in three days, why isn't it good right now"? And then so help me, this is what God showed me. He said, "Okay, would you do me a favor? Would you just go ahead and receive my forgiveness today, right now? Because frankly, I need you. I have a lot for you to do. I'm depending on you and you are no good to me in this condition".