I find it difficult to forgive myself. Every time I sin, fail to do something I know I should do, or simply do not meet my own expectations, I blame myself. Unfortunately my spiritual life is affected; I get upset with myself whenever I fail God. As a result, I feel ashamed and guilty. I find myself avoiding spending time with God. I sound just like Adam and Eve in the garden.
I know God’s great love for me. I am so grateful for His grace and mercy. When I am “naked and ashamed,” remember 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
This verse is true, but during the times I am disappointed with myself, I forget that it applies to me.
However, God is so sweet when He comforts me and He reveals how I should handle situations when I feel I have let Him down.
1. The Battle
If we have already accepted Christ and are following Him, remember that we are in a spiritual battle. “Knowing that we are in a battle gives us the advantage.” –Pastor Joey Crisostomo
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
2. The Deceiver
The closer we get to God, the more Satan wants to destroy us. He is 24/7 on the prowl, chasing and tempting us, seeking our weaknesses so that he can deceive us.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
I do not want it to be me.
3. The Fall
As long as we are still here on earth, God knows we will fail him. He knows us better than we even know ourselves. He understands our weaknesses and our motives. When we are tempted, He is there to encourage us, because He realizes without Him, we are weak.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41 NIV)
Every day, we fall short. We sin. Even the Apostle Paul admits his struggles:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. (Romans 7:15-17 NIV)
4. His Grace
Jesus does want us to feel sorry for the sins we have committed. The feelings of guilt, shame, and hurt are normal when we initially think about our sins. Conviction is a healthy barometer of our spiritual maturity. Hiding from God because of shame is not how He wants us to respond to our shortcomings. He wants us to remember 1 John 1:9, confess our sins to Him, then He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us.
God understands every unique part of us and His grace is greater than our biggest sin. If we find anger raising its ugly head, we must learn to forgive ourselves. We must choose to allow God’s grace to minister to us right where we are. We must humble ourselves before Him and ask for His forgiveness. Being a Christian is not living a perfect life but embracing His redemption.
5. The Change
During our struggles, we see our weaknesses and in our weaknesses we find God’s strength. After all, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18:
We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)
We can know that God is working in us so that He can work through us.
So my dear brethren, keep in mind that God is not yet done with our lives, the good work He began in us will continue until the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
We will sin. We will fall short. But His grace and forgiveness are sufficient.
The battle with sin is already won. Jesus Christ freely provides us the victory.