Donal in his Sunday Scriptures posted this:
I am not a joyful person. Never have been. Just not part of my overall personality. Not that I cannot be happy from time to time, but I have never really been joyful as it is properly understood. I’ve long recognized my trouble finding joy is a real weakness of mine, but its been one that I’ve not been able to quash. I have tried for a long time, and will continue yet to embrace a spirit of joy. God willing I will find it eventually.
I want to give this a post on its own because this is something that God has been revealing to me over the past few months about myself. Not that I walk without joy and/or peace, but there are things that have held me back from experiencing His joy and peace.
Remember that joy is directly related to grace and forgiveness. Joy and peace are not part of our personality, but it comes from God.
We often say to women who become Christians that were formerly promiscuous that just because they are a new creation in Christ doesn’t mean the past has gone away. In this, we don’t mean that the blood of Christ hasn’t covered all sins. But it is our perception of ourselves that we continue to cling on to things in our past. We allow things to continue to shackle our soul and our mind.
Fear is a big one. Why are we, as Christians, still so afraid to speak about Jesus in public. Or how about for nice guys to go and ask a Christian woman out? Or reveal things in our past to others?
In the same vein you can think of confession as like this. Even by just talking to a priest revealing your sin before God and man, there is a freedom that is present from allowing the chains to fall off of yourself. You’re not accepting God’s grace again because we have already received it once and for all, but confession(s) are for us to allow us to walk fully into what God has for us. Who can’t be joyful and peaceful after confession? A weight on us has been lifted, and it’s not because God has suddenly forgiven us again. He already has as Christians.
For me there has been many things in my life that I’ve held onto maybe in terms of false humility or pride that I should have give to God a while back. And confessing them to Him allows freedom to happen.
It’s often the case that as serious Christians we are our own worst critics. If I sin I know I have the grace of God. But I sometimes catch myself internally beating myself up because of that sin. “I should’ve known better” or “I should have been able to overcome this temptation” or “I’m weak.”
I know God has forgiven me but have I forgiven myself?
Self condemnation is a really bad thing to walk in because that is not what Christ came for or how He wants us to live. The bitterness of the lies of feminism and that which we have seen in the manosphere are a hard pill to swallow. Can you forgive others and forgive yourself?
The past is the past, and I can’t change the mistakes I’ve made. I can only learn from them. But I know that I have received His grace and I know that He does not condemn me and I shouldn’t condemn myself either. That is why I walk with peace and joy. Yet, still bearing the consequences of my actions if any in the present and the future. God is good.
Thus, deep down I know that if I am not experiencing peace or joy within my life there are chains that I have allowed to bind me where God has already broken them loose. We sit in those chains asking God why won’t He take them off, but He has already done so. Stand up out out of them and walk free.