- Trust that the sovereign God is in control of all pressures in your life, using them for His good purposes to transform you into the likeness of Christ (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28–29).
- Recognize that guilt is a big “stressor” in life. Certain pressures come as consequences of our own actions (Galatians 6:7–8). Irresponsible debt is an obvious example. Confess any known sin. Begin growing in Christ, putting away the ungodly actions and attitudes that may have led to your stressful circumstances (Proverbs 28:13).
- Pray with specific requests and thank God for His good purposes in trials (Philippians 4:6–7).
- Repent of any self-willed efforts to change circumstances that are beyond your control. Often believers—caught up in their pride—seek to do things only God can do (such as ensuring that our kids turn out right, avoiding job loss, fixing the economy, and converting an unbelieving spouse). Clearly when we seek to control things that only God can do, we will become stressed (Psalm 131).
- Seek to return good for evil when pressure arises from the sinfulness of others (Romans 12:18).
- Pray that God will help you to control your thinking so as not to worry, fear, or despair (Matthew 6:25–34). Cultivate the godly thinking that Paul describes in Philippians 4:8–9.
- Work hard to solve problems within your control today (Matthew 6:34;Ephesians 4:26–27). God has given each of us enough challenges for today. We need to take proper care and concern for today’s issues while we plan wisely for the future (Proverbs 6:6–8).
- Seek wise, biblical counseling in the areas of your greatest stress. Start with the most significant issue first (Proverbs 27:9).
- Seek regular accountability to help you respond biblically to the pressures of life (Proverbs 13:20; Hebrews 10:24–25).
- Attempt to establish helpful routines of diet, exercise, and adequate rest (1 Timothy 4:8).
Posts Tagged ‘guilt’
[A] little-known seventeenth-century Puritan, Thomas Wilcox . . . wroteHoney Out of the Rock, one of the most helpful essays we’ve found on dealing with persistent guilt. We’ve updated into modern language a series of Wilcox’s instructions for dealing with persistent guilt:
- Shift your focus away from your sin and onto Christ: don’t persist in looking upon sin; look upon Christ instead, and don’t look away from him for a moment. When we see our guilt, if we don’t see Christ in the scene, away with it! In all our storms of conscience, we must look at Christ exclusively and continually.– Shift your focus to Christ, our mediator. If we’re so discouraged we cannot pray, then we must see Christ praying for us (Romans 8:34), using his influence with the Father on our behalf. What better news could we ever want than to know Jesus Christ — the Son of God, co-creator of the Universe — is addressing the Father on our behalf?
– Shift your focus to Christ crucified, risen, and ascended.When guilt persists, remember where Jesus is and where he’s been. He has been upon the cross, where he spoiled all that can ruin us. He’s now upon the throne of heaven, as our advocate and mediator. His state in glory doesn’t make him neglectful or scornful of the guilty sinners he died to redeem. He has the same heart now in heaven as he had upon the cross.
- Shift your focus to the glory of Christ. If guilt still persists, remember that he pardons for his own name’s sake (Isaiah 43:25; Ezekiel 36:22; 1 John 2:12), because in pardoning us he’ll make us living monuments of the glory of the grace he purchased. It’s Christ’s own happiness to pardon, so he does. By embracing this truth, even the most desperate sinner’s conscience can rest absolutely assured.
- Shift your focus off of self-condemnation. When our conscience relentlessly condemns us, remember that Christ will have the last word. He is judge of the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5) and only he can pronounce the final sentence. Christ is the judge — not us or our conscience. So never for a moment dare to take the judge’s place by proclaiming irreparable guilt when he proclaims hope, grace, and pardon. If we think our sin is too great to be pardoned, remember that Christ doesn’t agree.
- Shift your focus off of self-contempt. If we’re focused on hating ourselves, realize that we’re focused on ourselves and not on him. Self-contempt is a subtle form of self-centeredness, which is the opposite of Christ-centeredness. Unless our self-contempt makes us look more at the righteousness of Christ and the cross of Christ and less at ourselves, the whole endeavor leads to death. Let our sin break our hearts but not our hope in the gospel.
Sinclair Ferguson in By Grace Alone (p. 57):
“Do you see what spiritual therapy is? The divine Counselor does not say to the person who feels guilt for sin, “You don’t need to worry about this.” That would be a counsel of despair. Such words have no power.
But when you say to someone who feels guilty, You are guilty; you really are guilty, ” then you also can say, “But there is a way in which your guilt can be dealt with.”
No therapist, no psychiatrist can relieve you of your guilt. He or she may help you to resolve feelings of false guilt that can arise for a variety of reasons. Prescription drugs may provide certain kinds of ease. But no therapy, no course of drugs, can deliver you from real guilt. Why? Because being guilty is not a medical condition or a chemical disorder. It is a spiritual reality. It concerns your standing before God. The psychiatrist cannot forgive you; the therapist cannot absolve you; the counselor cannot pardon you.
But the message of the gospel is this: God can forgive you, and He is willing to do so.”
Do you struggle with guilt as a Christian? You feel guilty because you don’t pray enough, witness effectively, give enough, don’t spend enough time with your children, eat too much, watch TV too much or didn’t stay on your budget or diet last month?
Kevin DeYoung deals with this issue pastorally and biblically as he blogs that “we should feel guilty sometimes, because sometimes we are guilty of sin. Moreover, complacency as Christians is a real danger, especially in America. But yet, I don’t believe God redeemed us through the blood of his Son that we might feel like constant failures.”
He asks why so many Christian feel guilty all the time? Then he suggests four points:
- We don’t fully embrace the good news of the gospel.
- Christians tend to motivate each other by guilt rather than grace.
- Most of our low-level guilt falls under the ambiguous category of “not doing enough.”
- When we are truly guilty of sin it is imperative we repent and receive God’s mercy.
If you experience low-level guilt much of the time or feel like a constant failure or want to help someone who does read the whole article.