Summary: This sermon hits on guilt and how it is a barrier to our spiritual growth. We can’t live faithfully, carrying around our guilt.
Listen to the Voice of Truth
I was pondering on a question this week. The question was, “What does it take for a Christian to please God?” Some people might say, “That’s not a good question to ask,” or something like that, but with all this baggage we have been talking about I wondered if our baggage pleases God. My final answer is no, it doesn’t please God. God doesn’t want us running around in life weighed down my different issues that He can actually take care of for us. God doesn’t want us to be weighed down by pride, worry or any of the others that we have talked about. God wants us to live full, rich lives. He wants us to be out enjoying the world and fulfilling the purposes He has for us. We still haven’t reached the answer yet, “What does it take to please God?” We do find the answer in the book of Hebrews 11:6 (read).
So the answer seems to be that in order for a Christian to please God, we must live our lives full of faith. How many of us live our lives full of faith? Chapter 11 goes on to list many people who did live their lives full of faith. Men like Moses, Abraham, Joseph and Noah. The list continues even with women who had lived their lives full of faith, Sarah and Rahab. Look at the example that they have left for us. The earth had never seen rain ever, and Noah starts building a gigantic boat in case of rain. Everyone makes fun of him during the whole time that he is building the boat. He lived his life in faith, knowing that God was going to send rain the way He said He was. Noah was rewarded for that. And the list goes on and on. You have all heard their stories, stories of triumph through their faithfulness. Chapter 11 is full of amazing biblical characters that lived their lives full of faith. Do you think if the writer of Hebrews was alive today, he would be able to include your name in this list? For most of us I would have to say, “Probably not.”
Then I ask myself the question, “What is it that keeps us from that level of faith?” What keeps us from going to the most powerful people in our world and demanding things the way Moses did to Pharaoh? What is it that keeps us from having a level of faith that would allow us to walk through the Red Sea? What is it that keeps us from living lives full of faith? The answer is just another form of baggage. This time the culprit for our not living lives full of faith is guilt. One of Satan’s favorite tools to use on us is guilt. It weighs us down. It consumes us. It is with us all the time. Guilt stalemates us in our spiritual lives. We can’t move forward, sideways or backwards. We just sit and grow stale in our Christianity because guilt prevents us from moving.
It is guilt from that decision you made back in college. It still haunts you today, what you did 5, 10, 15 or even 25 years ago. Because of something you did, you feel that you can’t be close to God and that He surely doesn’t love you anymore. Therefore you might as well not even try to step out on faith anymore, because God isn’t there for you anyway. You have just made too many mistakes. You seem to fall to the same sin over and over. You know it’s a sin, but you just can’t seem to get away from it. You have prayed for forgiveness, you have prayed for strength in overcoming it, but you just can’t do it. This means God must have abandoned you and you are all alone. The guilt for that sin you have committed comes back to you and it freezes you right where you stand. Now you can’t move forward in your faith because there is no way that God wants to love or talk to someone who can’t even overcome this one little sin. Guilt is a barrier. It is the barrier we must walk through in order to develop a stronger faith. Satan uses this road block because so many times Christians get to it, they look at the size of the barrier and rather than by faith walking through it, going around it or pushing it over, we just stop in our faith journey, and stare at the barrier, feeling hopelessly lost because we just can’t do it. Satan is really good at making us feel like when we get to one of those barriers, when we are dealing with that guilt, he makes us feel as if God is no longer there for us. And that makes us stop and ponder, “What if God doesn’t love me anymore? If He doesn’t, then there’s no reason to go on from here.”