How do you perceive your relationship with God? Did you know that your faith depends on how you perceive your relationship with God? A person may have no trouble believing God's Word when it tells us that we have authority to lay hands on the sick, and see them recover, but where that person may have a struggle, is when they doubt their worthiness to walk in such manifestation of God's Spirit. If a person has a problem with feeling worthy, then they need to understand the power of the Blood of Jesus, and what difference it makes to their relationship with God. It is absolutely essential that you perceive your relationship as if it were washed clean with the Blood of Jesus. God's Word tells us that if we walk in the light, then the Blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all our failures along the way:
Are you walking in the light and forgiving / loving one another as Christ has loved you? If so, then your under the constant protection of the Blood of Jesus, which washes away your failures. It is no ticket to continue living in sin, but it is an opportunity to grow in Christ.
Perceiving your relationship with God depends on how seriously you take what He says about your being made right with Him through faith in Christ Jesus. If He says that the Blood of Christ has washed away your sins, but you still see yourself as guilty and shameful, then you're not really standing on that promise in His Word. You're not taking what God says seriously, and therefore it is causing you to see your relationship with Him in a way which is not true. Such perceptions greatly affect our faith.
Satan wants you to feel like God is somehow angry or less than satisfied with you.
It is one of Satan's biggest lies that he tells the children of God that even if God isn't "angry" with them, he wants them to feel in some way, that they have failed God and now He isn't as thrilled about them as He once was. God's Word tells us how His heart is towards those who repent and turn back to Him. If you question God's heart towards the repentant backslider, then you need to read the entire chapter of Luke 15, where Jesus uses a parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son, to illustrate the heart of the Father towards those who return to Him. Although I highly recommend reading the entire chapter, here's a few verses I want to point out:
That is just ONE passage in scripture that shows the heart of God towards those who are coming back to Him with a repentant heart - there are MANY other examples in scripture! Jeremiah 3:11-22 is another great passage. Some people feel that God is a cruel distant taskmaster, because He would allow His people (the Israelites) to come under heavy oppression and slavery. This is a perfect example of not considering God's side of the story - the Israelites were some of the most rebellious people we find in scripture. They were even slaughtering their own children for the sake of demons! If you study the Bible about the rebellion of the Israelites, you'll see WHY God allowed them to come under such heavy oppression. God's Word also tells us of His lovingkindness and mercy side towards those who turn to Him and who fear (respect & honor) Him.
Psalms 145:8 tells us that, "The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy."
Satan uses discouragement as a weapon against you!
Once a person feels distant from God, for some reason or another, their interests are often directed elsewhere because they are discouraged in their relationship with God. This often leads to depression, addictions, obsessions (crafts, movies, sex, sports, etc.), spending binges, and unbalanced priorities. After a while, the person loses more and more interest in their relationship with God, until they simply don't even bother to pick up their Bibles and spend time with Him. This is how Satan will use discouragement to destroy a person's relationship with God.
The whole reason that Satan (who works through evil spirits) wants us to feel discouraged, is because he wants to get us to a place where we will give up. He wants our relationship with God to just seem "impossible" and too hard to maintain. This leads a person to lukewarmness, and deflates their faith in God, because they have no confidence in their relationship with God. The Bible tells us to draw near to God with assurance, having our heart's sprinkled clean from an evil conscience!
The reason that Satan tries to attack is with guilt and shame, is for the very purpose of destroying our confidence in our relationship with God.
Satan uses past failures as "excuses"...
Satan will also work diligently to convince a person that because of a certain failure(s) in their past, that they cannot be restored in right standing before God. This often involves one sin in particular, such as abortion or fornication. Even though the sin has been repented of (confessed as sin and turned from), the enemy will continue to badger the person with guilt and shame over what they have done, as if they never repented of it! This is known as false guilt, because once a sin is repented of, that failure is washed away by the Blood of Christ. In other words, Satan is pointing at something that is no longer on your account! God's Word tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. This is a promise!
In the above verse, we also find that he won't just cleanse us of certain sins and not others, but we find that He is prepared to cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness! It's those sins which we fail to confess, which are not covered by this promise.
Jesus' attitude towards the woman caught in adultery...
We know that Jesus is an exact representation of the Father (John 10:30 & John 14:9), that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and also that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). Therefore, the way that Jesus handled this woman caught in adultery, is the same way that He would handle you or I, if we were in that same situation. Just look at the compassion, love, and forgiveness that flowed out of Jesus' heart for this woman who was caught sleeping with other women's husbands!
If you want to learn more about the true nature of the Jesus of the Bible, then I encourage you to read my teaching entitled, "The Jesus of the Bible." It is quite a different Jesus than many churches today will have you believe!
"Pulling you away from God"
Here's a blog entry that I posted recently about the power of imagining the truth about God seeing you through the eyes of love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Have you done enough to be accepted by God?
Many feel that if they do enough good works, that God will finally love and accept them. This is nothing more than the legalism fruit of a mindset bound in dead religion. I have an eye-opening teaching titled, "Exposing Dead Religion" that I recommend reading. The Bible is clear that Jesus loved us, before we did anything to earn His love and mercy. We were still in rebellion when He reached out, and gave His life so that we could be given right standing with God! It is clear by the verse below, that we were loved not because of anything we've done to deserve His love, but because of who we were:
Does the Blood of Jesus mean anything to you?
Those who constantly struggle with guilt and a sense of shame from their past mistakes, are overlooking or underestimating the power of the Blood of Christ. They somehow have this lurking feeling that they aren't truly forgiven of what they've done; that somehow their sin is greater than the Blood of Christ, although they would never openly say such a thing. One key to freedom is to honestly face the facts: do you really believe that your past failures are greater than the Blood of the Son of God, the creator of heaven and earth? Do your failures outweigh the Blood of Jesus, or does the Blood outweigh your failures?
Just how powerful is the precious Blood of Jesus to you? Is it stronger than all your failures? Is it so strong, that it will wipe away even the sins of a cold-blooded murder, such as the one who hung on the cross next to Jesus?
Could the compassion and mercy of Jesus, be so great that it looked past the terrible sin of adultery (which was JUST committed!), and clean her slate in one moment's notice, without hesitation?
Or do you feel as if your sins are too great for the Holy Blood of the Son of God to remove? How dare we degrade the priceless value of the Blood that the Son of God has shed for us!
If we repent of our sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, but yet still feel guilty and wonder if we are forgiven, then my friend, let me assure you that you are grossly underestimating the Holy Blood of the Son of God!
The Israelites would even commit human sacrifice unto demons (see Psalms 106:38), yet God kept calling out for them to return to Him. God kept crying out to Israel, saying, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings..." (Jeremiah 3:22)
I have a powerful teaching on the Blood of Jesus, and how it is enough to forgive our sins all by itself, without anything added or subtracted from it! For a great teaching on the Blood, check out The Blood is Enough.
God LONGS for the backslider to return to Him!
God created us for fellowship with Him, it grieves His heart when one of His sheep go astray. When a couple are madly in love, and one of them leaves, it can leave a terrible wound in the other person's heart. The same is true when we leave our first love (that is, God - Revelations 2:4). Do you think that God's heart isn't broken when His bride turns her back on Him? God's Word tells us that we are engraved on the palms of His hands (the nails from the cross), and OUR WALLS (which we put up) are continually before Him:
God takes no pleasure in punishing His people, but takes pleasure in giving mercy
God never takes pleasure in punishing or allowing evil to fall upon His people. He is not up there tapping His foot, waiting for us to make a mistake so that He can punish us.
God's Word even tells us that He desires not to even remember our sins, for His sake!
The Bible also tells us that He FREELY justifies (makes innocent) us through the redemption that is through the work of Christ Jesus.
God is EXCITED when His lost sheep turn back to Him!
Many who have went astray, feel that if they ever do come back to God, then their relationship with Him would never be the same; that somehow, things would never be the same. Jesus made it very clear that there is great joy in heaven when one of Jesus' sheep that got lost, are found again and have been returned to Him!
In the next few verses, Jesus tells us of how the Father's heart towards us, is similar to a woman who lost a valuable coin, and how she would turn the house upside down to find it. When the lost coin was found, she threw a party to celebrate, and this is like how the Father throws a party for us when we turn back to Him!
And then my favorite parable comes up in Luke 15, which tells the story of the son who went the world's way, and felt he would never be accepted back as a son, but when the father saw his son returning, he ran towards him, hugged him, and threw a huge party for the safe return of his son. This story is similar to God's attitude towards us when we return to Him after going out into the world and messing our lives up by wild living (or whatever other sins we've committed). Look at how this parable is wrapped up though:
The 15th chapter of Luke is not the only place in the Bible where we read of such love, compassion, and forgiveness. God's Word is FULL of examples just like this! Even the OT was rich in examples of God's love and mercy towards those who returned to Him. Look at what God is saying in Isaiah's first chapter:
The entire book of Hosea is a great place to read of God's heart towards those who have rebelled and turned away from Him. He longs for the backslider to return, so that He can clean up the stain of sin, and restore His relationship with them! One verse I like in Hosea tells us: