- “You sinned again. You call yourself a Christian?”
- “You think God loves you? Give up.”
- “You’re totally guilty. You know what you did.”
- “Why bother reading the Bible? You never get anything out of it.”
In Ephesians 6:16, Paul warns us about the “the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Not sure what that is? You just read four arrows. Do any of those sound familiar to you? Each of those is a missile trying to knock us out. That’s why Ephesians 6:10-15 instructs us to put on the full armor of God. We’re in a spiritual battle.
So how do we fight? Here are ways to engage in this battle.
1. Identify if the feeling of guilt is TRUE or FALSE (see sidebar).
2. If it’s true guilt, you’ve got something to confess to God or someone else.
3. If it’s false guilt, you need to replace the thought. Try praying to God, or reading a verse that talks about God’s love for you (see 1 John 4:10).
God is specific. If He wants you to deal with a sin, He’ll clearly identify it. Satan is more general. He just wants to mess with you. Revelation 12:10 identifies Satan as the “accuser.” He wants to frustrate you and tie you up in emotional knots.
So the next time you feel those arrows, focus on what’s true and let God be your refuge and strength.
True guilt . . .
1. is from God. Conviction of sin draws you near to God so you can deal with it.
2. addresses a specific sin. There’s no guessing game: “Last night at dinner, you said the following words to your mother _______. You need to apologize.”
3. brings relief. There is joy when you obey God by confessing sin and making any necessary apologies.
4. is final. Once you confess your sin, you are forgiven. It’s over! See Hebrews 8:12.
False guilt . . .
1. is from Satan. It’s an accusation that leads you to despair because it doesn’t offer hope.
2. is a feeling of blame that you cannot identify. Instead of being specific, it is general. “Can’t you do anything right? You’re no good.”
3. continues to pester you. Since there is nothing specific, you don’t know how to fix it.
4. is ongoing. Satan continues to bring that feeling back again and again.