This devotional was originally published on June 23, 2017.
“You are not what you’ve done” is one of the hardest statements for me to grasp. Thankfully, God has given me enough faith to never have doubted his forgiveness. However, there have been times, and there are times, when I allow the enemy’s tactics to override truth, to override God’s Word and his Spirit within me. Sometimes I allow the enemy to fill me with guilt and shame, smacking a label on me, which allows me to remain stuck. Once I label myself, it gives way for me to continue walking in that brokenness and not allowing me to walk in the abundant life that my new identity in Christ should bring.
In high school, and mostly college, I looked a lot different than I look now. I decided to walk in the newness of life, in Christ, at the very end of my sophomore year of college. I believe God revealed to me the grossness of my sin and, from that day forward, I chose to never go back. Best decision I ever made. While I am 100% certain that God forgave me of my past (and future) mistakes, there are still consequences I face today because of those actions. Some of those consequences may seem trivial to people, but they tend to remind me of that person I once was. It is in those times the enemy likes to nudge his way into my mind and bring guilt in shame. He doesn’t necessarily hold me back from trying to pursue peace and joy in those moments, but he definitely brings on negativity, which I know is contrary to what God has for me. Since my past seems so distant and so foreign to me sometimes, it doesn’t keep me from pursuing the great things God has for me. However, the not-so-distant past is another story.
The things I struggled with yesterday, rather than 10 years ago, are the things the enemy knows he can throw guilt and shame on me for. One of the areas where I know he attacks me the most is within my marriage. If I do something that would make me the opposite of the “Wife of the Day,” I heap shame onto myself. My husband doesn’t make me feel like this, the enemy does. I start believing lies, such as my husband could have found someone so much nicer than me or my husband really deserves a wife with more of a gentle and quiet spirit. While both of those things may be true, it’s the guilt and shame within them that I know is not from the Lord. God does give us conviction when we are not living in step with his spirit, but he does not hold these things against us. And if he doesn’t hold these things against us, what right do we have to?
I feel like there is a balance. I need to understand my weaknesses and allow for Scripture to mold me and help me walk in the newness of life that God has already given me. I also need to not label myself based on my weakness, but instead label myself with the labels God has given me: righteous, holy, blameless, forgiven, spotless and new. When it comes to defeating Satan, one of the most powerful verses of Scripture I know is in 2 Corinthians:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
— 2 Corinthians 10:5
Basically, that verse is saying that, when a thought enters our mind that is contrary to what God says, to take that thought and force it into compliance. We have the ability to demolish strongholds, and I believe the enemy uses our thoughts to create strongholds — strongholds that can keep us from all that God has for us.
Once we are in Christ, we are made new. So let’s walk in that newness of life. We are only able to live an abundant life if we walk in the knowledge of how God views us. Not only will it benefit us personally, it’ll benefit those around us as he makes his appeal through us.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17–21