THIS SERIES: A HEALTHY HEART
So many of us live feeling guilty: not just about the things we’ve done, the identifiable sins, but the things we haven’t, the omissions and neglected intentions. And then there’s our mistakes and failures; the recurrent shortfall. We so want to be like Jesus, yet so often miss the mark.
And into that circumstance comes the Accuser. His insinuations, relentless and condemnatory [Revelation 12:10], try to tell us who we are—and who we never can be.
Sometimes these accusations come through the voices of others, past and present; ‘You’re so….’ ‘You always…’ ‘You never….’; or our own thoughts, castigating, ‘I’m such a….; I can’t….; I haven’t got what it takes……’; or even—we think, wrongly—the voice of God charging us with failure.
We know we’re not perfect, and the knowledge of that brings shame; maybe because deep down we know we were made for something better. Shame makes us feel uncovered, exposed; and accusation nibbles at the core of who we are. The response can be drivenness, the urge to push away the negative feelings by ceaseless activity; the impulse to win approval—from parents, authority figures, God or ourselves. Alternatively, we can sink into despondency, believing that these accusations are true and insurmountable.
We need to take stock and take steps to rid our hearts of this subtle affliction; for accusation in all its forms comes from the Evil One, and has done so from the beginning. He is rightly named ‘Belial’ which means ‘worthless’, for that is what he wants to label each one of us.
JESUS HAS BRIDGED THE GAP
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Not only are all our sins, large and small, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but every bit of our shortfall is covered by His blood. He has bridged the gap once and for all between us and the perfection which is God. There is no longer any ground for accusation.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… [Romans 8:1] And when God promises that everything works together for the good of those who love Him, it includes our mistakes and failures [Romans 8:28].
The blood of the Lamb brings healing to hearts lacerated by accusation; it is also a powerful offensive weapon to be used against the Accuser. We do not need to let him whisper words of condemnation a moment longer.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony
But if our sins and imperfections are covered by the blood, so we must allow those of our family members, and brothers and sisters in Christ to be similarly coated. The Accuser delights in accusing others to us, inflicting distress and destroying relationships where he can. Knowing that Jesus’ blood has also covered the mistakes and failures of the significant others in our lives, and that He works all these things for our good, sets us free from resentment, free to forgive and be at rest. (And it’s only from that place of trust, humility and forgiveness, that sins which need to be addressed in others can be effectively confronted.)
Not only does the Accuser attempt to bring reproach on ourselves and others, he also attempts to accuse God to us. ‘God is not good…; He does not keep His promises…; He is a stern and unyielding Father…’
We see this at the very beginning; ‘Has God said?’, asked the serpent; and the insinuation was there, ‘God is not good… He is withholding good from you’. And if these allegations lodge in our hearts fear and unbelief follow.
These accusations are defeated by the word of our testimony—the declaration of God’s goodness and grace in our lives. Maybe there are things we don’t understand in our history or circumstances; destructive things which the enemy has sought to use to accuse the Lord in our eyes, and thus create a barrier. Choosing to trust that God is good to us all the time, and choosing to fix our eyes on all the evidence of that goodness, rather than the questions, silences the Evil One’s allegations.
There is a concerted assault on our hearts by the Accuser to poison us with shame, guilt, unforgiveness, resentment, fear and unbelief; let’s recognise his schemes and take up arms to counter… and overcome.
Let’s declare the power of the Blood of the Lamb, and the goodness of God over our lives and relationships. Let’s resist the Devil and watch him flee!
NEXT TIME: DESTROYING THE STRONGHOLD OF UNBELIEF
Identifying strongholds is an important part of maintaining heart-health. And one of the key strongholds to demolish is unbelief...
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[Photo credits: Anh Nguyen (girl); Alicia Quan (cross); John Schnobrich (laptop); @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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