If you’ve ever had a conversation with me about Bible characters, you’ll know that St. Paul (who was earlier known as Saul) has a very special place in my heart. I love his story. I admire his audacity. I respect his literary prowess. I really love the way he went all out for the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. He did write quite a number of the books of the Bible, and needless to say I love reading those books. So, it is with a special kind of excitement that I write this post, because I will be using the character of Paul to explain what the Holy Spirit laid in my heart.
The Holy Spirit led me to Galatians chapter 1, where we see Paul writing about his life in a letter to the Galatians. In this very first chapter of Galatians, Paul was telling the Galatians about his experience as a new convert. He told them who he was before he got saved, how he got saved, and how he went ahead to do things for the kingdom of God. He was using his story to encourage them.
The encouragement Paul gave to the Galatians thousands of years ago is still relevant in our day and age. It’s still blessing and transforming lives. The Holy Spirit is using it to bless and encourage me. And I just want to extend that same encouragement your way. Here are the ways it is blessing me:
Your guilt isn’t worthy to tell you who you are or what to do
Have you ever felt guilty? Have you ever felt so guilty that you wish you can just wipe the memory of what is causing the guilt away, so both you and every other person that have the memory will no longer have it? Have you ever felt so guilty that you believe you don’t deserve something good?
Well, your guilt isn’t worthy to tell you who you are or what to do. If you listen to your guilt, you’ll only hear negative things. If you allow your guilt consume your feelings, you’ll never feel right about yourself. When guilt controls your sight, you won’t see the right moves.
Guilt isn’t your friend, it’s your enemy. It is not from God, It’s from the devil. God wants us to repent; He doesn’t want us to live with guilt. Repentance means changing your ways, and moving into new ways, with boldness and happiness. Guilt is holding onto your mistakes and just feeling bad about it…over and over and over again. That isn’t God’s will for you; that’s the devil’s will for you.
Paul destroyed the lives of so many Christians before he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus. When he finally knew he was living in the wrong, he would have decided to be a low-key Christian and not try to speak up in the Christian community, because it would have been hard for him to meet: relatives of the people he killed, families he scattered, people he imprisoned and made to suffer. But, Paul didn’t allow the guilt from his past get in the way of his new life. Of course, I believe he really regretted his actions, but he didn’t allow his regret stop him from being who God has called him to be and doing all God wanted him to do. Paul when recounting his experience said:
Immediately after my calling—without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was—I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days—but what days they were! Galatians 1:16,-18 (MSG)
And then Acts 9:19-22 throws more light on Paul’s experience as a new convert (note: in Acts 9, he was still called Saul):
Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God. They were caught off guard by this, and not sure they could trust him, they kept saying, “Isn’t this the man who wreaked havoc in Jerusalem among the believers? And didn’t he come here to do the same thing—arrest us and drag us off to jail in Jerusalem for sentencing by the high priest?”
But their suspicions didn’t slow Saul down for even a minute. His momentum was up now and he plowed straight into the opposition, disarming the Damascus Jews and trying to show them that this Jesus was the Messiah.
Paul accepted God’s commission and ran with it…passionately. He didn’t allow guilt get in his way. You shouldn’t allow guilt get in your way too.
God doesn’t allow any human’s vote to count in your life
Now the thing about letting of guilt is: you might let go of guilt but others wouldn’t just let go of the wrong you’ve done. Actually, the truth is: when the devil sees that you have decided to let go of guilt, he mobilizes others to constantly remind you of it. The devil will try to bring you to the point where people’s opinions of you become a big deal for you. When the devil sees he can’t cripple you from within any longer, he comes from the outside.
It is not wrong when people try to draw your attention to a character flaw in you that’s constantly on a replay…you should pay close attention to that. It is, however, a different ball game when people try to remind you of a past you’ve let go of, or when you hold back from reaching your full potential because you believe people can’t trust you because of your past…you should deliberately ignore that with the bold and confident spirit that Christ has given you. Besides, everybody can’t give you their 100% and there must be haters too.
Plus, we’re not supposed to live our lives for the applause of any human being anyway. We are to live our lives for the applause of one…that’s Jesus. Jesus wants you to live boldly…for Him, and Him alone. When you live for Jesus; He’ll bring the right company and support, and if it’s not Jesus that’s bringing them your way…you don’t want them in your life.
Paul didn’t try to seek the approval of anybody. He got his commission from God and that was all that mattered to him. With God’s commission, Paul went out and rocked the entire world. This man lived thousands of years ago, and we can’t stop talking about him, and we won’t…as long as we keep talking about the Christian faith. Paul said:
Now, am I trying to win the favour of men, or of God? Do I seek to be a man-pleaser? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond-servant of Christ, the Messiah. Galatians 1:10 (AMPC)
Like Paul, God wants you and me to be so fiercely determined to live boldly. God knows we’ll never live boldly like He wants us to, if we’re soaked in the pool of guilt and people’s opinion, and that’s why He wants us to be soaked in His love instead. Spend time to mediate on scriptures that talk about God’s Love for you. The more you see and understand God’s love for you, the more you’ll be free from all shades of guilt and the different colours of people’s opinions.
And here is a special note to anyone that is struggling with letting go of other people’s wrong
This post wouldn’t be complete if I don’t leave a note for the persons that wouldn’t just let go of a wrong someone else has done. Let me start my note with a story. About eight or nine years ago, my brother and I had gone to a cousin’s wedding and at the wedding we were reunited with a secondary school mate. We haven’t seen this mate for about two years or thereabout, so we were all excited to see each other once again. After the wedding, we got home and we started talking about this mate. My brother was just excited about how matured this mate of ours has become and he was just telling me how he had a deep and intelligent conversation with this mate…and my response to all the praises my brother was giving this mate was,
“Well, he was acting all matured but I still couldn’t help but see him for who he was back then in secondary school.”
My brother laughed and then went ahead to say something that I will forever remember. He said,
“You are the one with the problem. You can’t hold onto the idea you have about a person, when the person has outgrown that idea.”
I’m pretty sure my brother will not remember this story, but I’ll never forget it. I will never forget it because it transformed me then and it still blesses me, whenever it comes back to memory.
We can’t hold onto someone’s past because God doesn’t even wants us to. In fact, as Christian, we have a deeper call. God wants us to treat others like He treats us. Now, how does God treat us? He has let go of our past failures, our present failures…and even our future failures. You see, you should let go too. God doesn’t want you to hold onto someone’s wrong even if the person has refused to change. God didn’t say to forgive people if they change, He just says to forgive.
Also, you have to understand something. If you can’t let go of people’s failures, you’re probably holding onto yours too. How we treat and judge others is a reflection of how we truly treat and judge ourselves. You might want to argue, but arguing about it doesn’t change the fact that it is the truth. Let’s learn to, always, believe the best of people. They might disappoint and keep disappointing us, but that’s on them. Let’s choose to always be an extension of God’s love, and God’s love never gives up on people. God’s love is all out to help everyone live boldly.
My prayer for you and me:
Every spirit of guilt is destroyed in our lives. We’re consumed by God’s Love. We’ll know and understand God’s commission to us. We’ll run, passionately, with our God’s given commission. The approval of Jesus is the only approval that will matter in our lives…and our lives will keep getting better and brighter. In Jesus’ name…Amen.
Get in the gym, and do
Stay Spiritually Fit.