Freedom From False Guilt

This can be one of the hardest things to do, but when God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Satan will keep throwing your past sins up in your face to bog you down with a false sense of guilt. He wants to steal our joy in Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, but once we ask forgiveness, we’re forgiven, so we don’t have to carry those burdens anymore. Accept God’s grace, and ask Him to remove any false sense of guilt you’re harboring over forgiven sins.

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

John 3:18-24

MARCH 24, 2021

Is there something from your past that continues to stir up feelings of guilt? Unless you rest in God’s complete forgiveness, you won’t experience the fullness of His divine grace.

If you feel ashamed but don’t know why, the problem could be a false sense of guilt. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin so we can repent and be free. But guilt that persists with no specific cause comes from the devil. Ask the Lord to cleanse of you of any false guilt today.

Another source is legalistic teaching. Many people have been taught a distorted version of the gospel and think, I’ll never measure up. For example, the religious leaders of Jesus’ time followed a code of man-made rules, and they communicated the idea that “unless you do this, God won’t accept you.” Righteous deed by righteous deed, they tried to earn the Lord’s acceptance—and sometimes so do we. But this legalistic view always becomes an enslaving vicious cycle.

Remember, Jesus came to liberate us. The Bible says that when you are set free by Christ, your freedom is complete (John 8:36). It’s time to let His grace cleanse you from any shame. Ask the Lord to help you walk in this truth—and enjoy unhindered fellowship with your Savior.

Daily Devotions

Sunday Reflection: A Passionate Demonstration

This is the only time when we see Jesus display any type of aggressive behavior. This was done to demonstrate how serious an offensive was occurring against God by those in the synagogue. It’s important to note that Jesus acted in righteous anger, and He waited upon the directive of the Holy Spirit before doing so. It is important not to use this scripture as an excuse to give into our temperaments or unrighteous anger.

MARCH 14, 2021 SUNDAY

When the Lord overturned tables in the temple court (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18), He drove out moneychangers along with people buying and selling goods. By all accounts, this was a passionate demonstration. Jesus purposefully expressed His convictions and took action. Remembering this is helpful as we think about attachment and detachment—it highlights that being passionate about something can be totally different from a passion that draws us away from God.

Imagine how often Jesus passed those tables and chose to do nothing until it was the right time to act. But pausing didn’t mean He was indifferent. His decision to act when He did—not sooner or later—came out of His obedience to the Father and from His love and concern for the world. Freedom results from confronting and relinquishing unhealthy attachments. But we also should be motivated by love and consideration for the world, without getting caught up in it.

Think about it

• Do you relate to the way Jesus took action in the temple courts? Why or why not?

• When you see an unhealthy attachment in your life, do you tend to respond rashly or to consider the situation prayerfully?

Daily Devotions

Put on the Lord Jesus

Sanctification is a lifelong process throughout which the Holy Spirit molds us more into the image of Christ. In order for the Holy Spirit to do this, we must keep Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross of Calvary as the object of our faith. Only then can the Holy Spirit work within our lives and hearts to sanctify us.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:11-14 KJV

Put on the Lord Jesus MARCH 11, 2021 THURSDAY

Modern culture encourages doing whatever comes naturally, but that approach leads only to self-centered, sinful living. In contrast, we as believers are told to make no provision for our natural or fleshly desires. This means we don’t place ourselves in the path of temptation or consider going back to the old sinful longings, attitudes, and habits that were ours before we knew the Lord.

When I was a young Christian, I heard talk about sanctification and “doing away with sin.” I mistakenly thought that when I was older, I’d have some kind of spiritual experience that would rid my life of wrong desires and thoughts. But that’s not how sanctification works. Instead, it’s a lifelong process in which God’s Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image.

Even after three years in Jesus’ company, the disciples couldn’t live the Christian life on their own. They had to wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gave them strength, guidance, and wisdom. That has not changed—it remains true that apart from Christ’s Spirit, we cannot overcome fleshly desires and live in obedience to God’s will.  But when we rely on Him instead of ourselves, He produces godly desires within us, empowers obedience, and transforms our character into Christ’s likeness.

Daily Devotions

The Assurance of Our Salvation

This is definitely one of the things that I think many of us struggle with. When life gets us down, we begin to doubt our salvation. I think this is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against Christians. He whispers we’re not good enough into our ears or we’re just deceiving ourselves and we’re not really saved. All you have to do to be saved, though, is to truly believe in your heart that Jesus is the son of God, that He died on the Cross for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead. You must also confess these truths with your mouth. Then, it’s important that we keep our faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us so we can be assured our faith is true. When we focus on Christ and Cross, the Holy Spirit will be able to work within our lives to help us follow in Christ’s footsteps.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:1-13

MARCH 09, 2021 TUESDAY

Many Christians struggle with doubts about their salvation. As they look at their failures, they question whether they’re truly saved. The apostle John wrote his first epistle to assure believers of their eternal security. Throughout the book, he gives three tests by which professing believers can evaluate themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.

1. The Word Test. Genuine Christians believe what Scripture says about Christ—that He is God’s Son, who came in the flesh to die for mankind’s sins.

2. The Witness Test. The Holy Spirit indwells true believers. They experience His transforming work, and He gives them a deep, abiding conviction that they belong to Christ.

3. The Walk Test. Christ’s life flows through His followers and will be evident in their words, attitudes, and actions. The sins they once loved are now repulsive to them, and obedience to Christ is the new direction of their life.

While we can’t be 100 percent certain about the authenticity of anyone else’s faith (Matt. 7:21), God doesn’t want His true children wavering in uncertainty about their own. That’s why John’s first epistle says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added).

Daily Devotions

The Words of Our Faith

Sanctification is a life-long process. Once we’re saved, if we keep our trust exclusively in Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross, then we give the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Hebrews 2:1-4 KJV

MARCH 06, 2021 SATURDAY

Some churches today avoid using biblical language to describe what it means to be saved, because the terms can be confusing. However, since God chose these words to convey the greatness of our salvation, we should not overlook them. In order to understand grace, it is essential that we grasp the following concepts:

• Redemption refers to Christ’s payment for sin—in other words, His death purchased us for God.

• Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in which He gives us divine life and makes us into new creatures.

• Justification is God’s declaration that through our faith in Christ, we are righteous and acquitted of guilt for sin.

• Forgiveness is the removal of our guilt; to accomplish this, Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).

• Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship with God. No longer His enemies, we’re now His beloved children. 

• Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It’s the process by which we grow in holiness and obedience. 

The more you understand the depths of your salvation, the greater your awe, gratitude, and love for Jesus will be. So meditate on these truths and the fullness of your salvation, and let them fill your mind and heart today.

Daily Devotions

Made to Be Like Him

After we’ve been saved, our goal should be to reach spiritual maturity. This isn’t something we can do of ourselves. It’s something that happens when we let the Holy Spirit work within our lives and mold us into the image of Jesus.

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” -Galatians 3:3 KJV

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:26-39

FEBRUARY 05, 2021 FRIDAY

The Lord makes known His love for mankind in so many ways. Consider, for example, His providential care and kindness to all humanity, our beautiful planet filled with creation’s wonders, and the gift of eternal life to all who trust Christ as Savior. But have you ever recognized that God also shows love by transforming believers into the image of His Son?

Genesis 1:26 tells us that in the beginning, God created mankind in His likeness. Though that image was marred when Adam and Eve sinned, God’s purposes were not thwarted. Before He had created anything, the plan for mankind’s restoration was already in place (1 Peter 1:18-21).

God provided salvation through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Everyone who trusts in Jesus is forgiven, spiritually reborn, and adopted into the heavenly Father’s family. The Holy Spirit enters each new believer’s life and begins the process of molding the renewed heart and mind into Christlikeness. And ultimately the transformation will be completed when we are bodily resurrected and stand before our Father in our glorified state.

But even before we reach that perfected state, God is glorified through His followers—when the likeness of His Son is revealed in our character, conversation, and conduct to those around us.

Daily Devotions

Rely on God’s Spirit

So many Christians think they have to do something after they’ve been saved. They have to keep improving upon themselves. While it’s great to serve the Lord (and we should do good works), we must be careful that we don’t get into a “works” frame of mind, thinking that our works somehow make us better or warrant us anything. We must always realize that we cannot improve ourselves of ourselves. It is only by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us that we can grow in the spirit.

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:1-5

FEBRUARY 02, 2021 TUESDAY

Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson from a missionary who had spent 40 years in China. I told her about a struggle I was having, and I’ve never forgotten her reply. She said, “Charles, you won’t ever be any better than you are, but the Holy Spirit who lives inside you will enable you. You can’t improve your flesh.”

Until then, I’d always thought that if I worked hard enough, I would be a better person. It was an eye-opener to realize that our heavenly Father does not want or need our self-efforts. They can neither earn us salvation nor enable us to live the Christian life. In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul said basically the same thing when he wrote, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).

In our own strength, we are unable to do anything of eternal value. To become the person God wants us to be and to accomplish His will in our life, we must totally rely upon His Spirit. But it’s important to remember that dependence is not inaction. Paul described it this way: “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29). Depending fully on the Holy Spirit is how our Father wants us to serve Him.

Daily Devotions

God’s Power Working in Us

Even after we’ve accepted Jesus Christ, we’ll struggle with sin because we still live in the flesh. Only when we get our glorified bodies will all sin go away from us. However, when we keep our faith in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross, we give the Holy Spirit latitude to work without our lives and help us to not sin.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll never sin again—because we will. Can you really stop every negative thought from entering your mind? No. But when you do sin, you can repent. (This doesn’t mean this gives us a free pass to sin as much as we want, thinking, “I’ll just ask for forgiveness later.”)

We’re still to try our best to live righteously, but even our best is as filthy rags before the Father (“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6), which is why we must have the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for our sins.

However, instead of getting caught up in rules and the laws of the Old Testament, we’re to live by the New Covenant, which is grace. When you constantly keep your eyes on the Cross, you’ll obey the commandments as a loving response to our Savior, and you’ll actually hold to an even higher standard, such as forgiving others who’ve wronged you and exhibiting the same mercy our Savior does.

We’re all a work in progress, and it might take time for the Holy Spirit to mold us into who He wants us to be. Jesus serves as our mediator, asking the father for grace and mercy when we fail. None of us can keep the law flawlessly. If we could, there would have been no need for Jesus to come. He is the only one who ever lived perfectly. It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can truly live righteously and experience spiritual success.

And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:4-18 KJV

FEBRUARY 01, 2021 MONDAY

It’s easy to become discouraged in the Christian life because of our struggle with sin. Even though we want to walk obediently before the Lord, we often find ourselves thinking sinful thoughts, adopting worldly attitudes, speaking rashly, and acting in ways that are anything but Christlike.

Whenever you feel defeated, remember this: As believers, we have all the power needed to live as God desires, because He has given us His Holy Spirit (John 14:17). So, although you may never achieve success as the world measures it, God’s Spirit is always working towards your spiritual success by …

Illuminating your mind to know the truth. Then you can grow in the knowledge of God and His Word (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Transforming your character. He produces His spiritual fruit within you, making you more like Christ (Gal. 5:22-23).

Aligning your desires with God’s will. He works to help you yearn for the things God wants (Phil. 2:12-13).

Strengthening you. He enables you both to endure hardship and to serve God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

Human strength and willpower fall short, but the Lord promises to complete the good work He began in us. And He will not fail.

Daily Devotions

Handling God’s Word Accurately

Just like with any other book, the Bible must be read in the right context. It can be easy to pick one scripture and apply it wrongly. Usually, if you’ll read the surrounding scriptures or chapters, you’ll be able to able to discern the true meaning of a verse—what it’s talking about, the context it’s used in. Maybe you have trouble understanding the Bible in general. I think we all do from time to time, but it’s important that we don’t give up. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word to you. You’ll be amazed just how much He’ll reveal to you.

JANUARY 29, 2021 FRIDAY

The Bible is an amazing book because it is God’s words given to mankind in written form. Yet many people misinterpret it. Instead of diligently studying Scripture to discover what God means and how He wants us to live, some people search the Bible to find passages to support their preconceived ideas or preferred lifestyles.

Today’s passage was written to a young pastor named Timothy. Of all the duties a pastor has, the central one is to present the Word of God accurately to the church. But that doesn’t mean nobody else can—knowing how to properly interpret the Bible is a skill every believer should develop. Consider the diligence of the Bereans, who were commended for examining Scripture regularly to gauge the truth of messages preached to them (Acts 17:10-11).

We aren’t free to interpret the Bible any way we want. The goal is to discover what God meant rather than to find a meaning we like. Remember, it’s our Father’s approval we are seeking—not our own or that of others. Therefore, let’s devote time to studying Scripture, use our resources to learn about context, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth.

Daily Devotions

Evangelism: Every Believer’s Calling

We each have our own amazing testimony. Let’s share them with one another. You never know how much your testimony could bless someone else or draw an unbeliever that much closer to believing.

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

-Acts 1:1–8 KJV

JANUARY 28, 2021 THURSDAY

One Sunday a man approached me between services to share his story. He had been addicted to drugs and was leading a hopeless life when he heard a Scripture verse in a sermon. He said that one passage led him to place his trust in Jesus Christ.

We all have a story. Oftentimes the more we surrender to God, the more we see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the more we want to share with others what He has done.

The same was true of the disciples, who gathered around Jesus before His ascension. They heard His command to spread the gospel, make disciples, and baptize people from all nations. Surely this seemed like an overwhelming task for a handful of followers, but they obeyed. Their personal experiences with Christ undoubtedly motivated them to share the good news, and they also must have gained confidence from Jesus’ promise of His presence and power.

Are you passionately telling others about Christ? One of our highest callings is to tell others about Him. As was true for the early Christians, our own experience with the Savior is the most exciting and convincing story to tell.

Daily Devotions

What’s your testimony? You can read a bit of mine in Overcoming Struggles and Doubts About Your Salvation After a Loved One Passes.