Defeating Guilt and Shame

Spiritual Warfare: Defeating Guilt and Shame

Far too many believers are feeling dirty, worthless and ashamed of themselves. As a result, they feel unclean and therefore unworthy to approach God and have the living and intimate relationship that He wants to have with them! Shame prevents us from intimacy with God because it makes us feel unworthy and distant from Him.

What is the difference between guilt and shame?

Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure. False guilt, which is what Satan is known to throw at us, is where the sin has been repented of and forgiven, but he still wants us to feel guilty or see ourselves associated with our pasts. We are speaking of false guilt in this teaching, because true guilt should prompt the person to repent and turn from their sin, but false guilt is what Satan uses to rip apart the lives of countless believers around the world.

While guilt is seeing what you’ve done, shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done. Guilt is looking at the sin, shame is looking at yourself. If you allow yourself to meditate upon guilt, it will turn into shame. Guilt, if not properly dealt with, turns into a stronghold called shame.

Meditating on false guilt builds strongholds

If we continue to think about our past failures, it will wear us down spiritually, and the next thing the enemy aims at is getting the picture of ourselves distorted. He wants us to look at our past failures so much that we begin to see ourselves as failures!

Anybody who has been thinking about their past sins for long will begin to see themselves as dirty sinners and failures. The complete opposite of what they really are, providing they have repented of their sins and turned to God!

Shame is one of those things that the Bible speaks of as an imagination that must be cast down:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

An imagination is an image in your mind that is incorrect. If you see yourself as a failure, when you’re actually a blood-washed child of God… you’ve got an imagination that needs to be dealt with!

Shame is very destructive to our relationship with God

There is a good reason Satan wants us to feel like failures and dirty sinners. Feeling that way keeps us from confidently approaching God’s throne and having an intimate relationship with Him! The Bible tells us that the blood of Jesus was shed so that we can confidently approach an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father:

Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

God wants us to draw near to Him with a clean conscience that has been freed from dead works!

Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Even look at Paul, the chief of sinners, he even made it clear that he was serving God from a clean conscience!

2 Timothy 1:3, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”

Worship is an intimate way of expressing our relationship with God. The Bible is clear that we should approach Him with a clean conscience that has been purged from sin:

Hebrews 10:2, “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”

Shame and guilt are based upon deception, which is the opposite of truth. So how are we supposed to worship God in Spirit and truth, if there are imaginations hanging around in our minds that are contrary to the truth?

John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

How do we defeat or overcome guilt and shame?

You need to stop thinking about your past failures. Are you ignoring them? No! You are ignoring a lie, not the sin, because the sin has been dealt with and washed away. Therefore, you are meditating on something that no longer exists! If your sins are in the depths of the sea, then why are you still thinking about them?

Micah 7:19, “…he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

You need to stop focusing on the problem (which has been dealt with), and begin to praise God for the solution to the problem, and think about how you have been washed clean from those failures! Instead of meditating on a lie, begin to meditate on the truth in God’s Word concerning your past failures. Here are some great verses to get you started:

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”

Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Titus 2:14, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from EVERY lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (NASB)

Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (The word ‘riches’ in the Greek here means abundance and fullness!)

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”

Micah 7:19, “…he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Psalms 103:2-4, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;”

Disassociate yourself from your past!

Why do you think God wanted us to be new creations? Because He did not want your past to be a part of you anymore!

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Now that our past failures have been forgiven, we need to leave them there and press forward towards the things God has for us:

Philippines 3:13, “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

Not only are we supposed to forget our pasts, but God Himself has chosen to completely forget our sins as well!

Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

An article by GreatBibleStudy.com 

Emotional Experiences That Develop Shame

Shame is often a central ingredient in experiences of being:

alienated
inadequate
helpless
powerless
defenseless
weak
insecure
uncertain
shy
ineffectual
inferior
flawed
exposed

unworthy
hurt
intimidated
defeated
rejected
dumped
rebuffed
stupid
bizarre
odd
peculiar
different

Word of advice: When you experience one or more of the emotional feelings above, that does not mean that you have to allow any of them to cause you shame. Each and everyone one of us has or will experience the same emotions during our lifetime. When you arrive at a time in your life when you feel one of those emotions, tell yourself that this is just an experience to learn from and not an experience that I should allow to bound me from persevering.

Three Ways To Stop The Shame Cycle- Brene Brown