Overcoming Guilt

Take a moment and think about what words describe you!

Athlete?
Popular?
Rich?
Poor?
Outcast?
Angry?
Unwanted?
Unloved?
Betrayed?

Not long ago I had a man walk into my office.  He came in, sank down in the chair across from my desk, and as it turned out, had just showed up at the church to see if he could find some help.  This guy knew pain, betrayal, what it was like to be abandoned by his family, and he also knew what it was like to carry the weight of a life of bad decisions. In his journey for help he ended up giving his heart to God.  As a brand new baptized Christian he sat across the table from me pouring his heart out about what God had done in his life.  He was so happy that God had forgiven him, but he couldn’t forgive himself.  He felt like his life branding was “horrible sinner,” and he couldn’t break free from that.  He needed a new branding.

The Bible is laced with people who went through seasons where they were defined negatively:
King David – Adulterer, murderer
Gideon– Fearful, afraid
Matthew the tax collector– Traitor, thief
Mary– Pregnant teenager
Peter– Betrayer
Jonah– Disobedient
Paul– Persecutor of Christians

Paul writes these words in Romans 1:1 (ESV), “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”  Take a moment and read that again; these words describe someone who had previously hated Christians.  He defines himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus,” and an “apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.”  What does that mean?  How does that apply to us?

Let’s take a look at two words from this verse:

1) Paul’s third word in verse one is the word “servant.”   The Greek for this word is “doulos.”  It literally means “slave.”  Paul begins his self-description by calling himself a slave of Christ.

2) The other word I want to point out is the word “gospel.”  It’s the Greek word “euangelion,” which means good news.  Paul’s second self-descriptor is deliverer of the good news.

Paul states that his new definition for living is total commitment to delivering the good news of Christ!  Think about that for a moment.  What defines you?  Liar, fake, outcast, unfaithful, betrayed, or something totally different.  The way to begin to have a new life definition is to live differently.  Ultimately it’s also to live for something bigger than yourself and something that is always faithful and true.  God and His Word is the only thing that never changes and is always faithful.  There is no other life pursuit that evades the decay of time.  Guilt isn’t something that just disappears, it’s something that fades with a new life purpose.  Guilt is so tied into perspective and looking back.  God gives freedom from guilt by giving his followers a new mission.  He gives them a new perspective, one that will produce an emotional, spiritual, and relational harvest that will last forever. It’s time to dump guilt by embracing your mission. I am also a slave to spreading the good news!  I can testify, it’s a life purpose that is awesome and so fulfilling, and I know the relationships and impact I make will last for eternity!  So stop looking back and join the mission!  Guilt will slowly fade away…

*thanks to the guys at Southeast for the “End of Me” video bumper!

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