More God. Less Guilt.

Devotional

Guilt or Grace?

Guilt is always about what you have done. Grace is always about what God has done.  

Guilt leads us into an obsession with ourselves. Grace leads us into an obsession with the love of God.

Guilt saps our energy. Grace provides God's energy.

Guilt comes from spiritual self-reliance. Grace comes from God-reliance.  

Guilt and grace do not go hand in hand–in fact, they do not go together at all. Guilt and God, therefore, do not go hand in hand either. The more room you make for guilt, the less room there will be for God. The more room you make for God, the less room there will be for guilt. The Good News really is that good. You really are loved that much by God. The cross of Christ affirms this truth. 

A Barrier to Grace

Our greatest barrier to grace is our desire to be deserving before we will accept God's love. If we want to really get grace and get rid of guilt, we have to remember the words of St. Augustine: "Grace is not given because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them." These words are simply the echo of the Apostle Paul's words in Ephesians when he says: 

"For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9 GNT). 

You will not go to Heaven because you deserve it (Romans 3:23-25). You will not. You will go to Heaven because you recognize that you don't deserve it and with that humility accept the grace which alone can make Heaven possible for you. Guilt creeps into our spiritual lives through the unbiblical idea that we can somehow save ourselves if we work hard enough and somehow deserve Heaven if God were to be fair with us. Guilt comes from denying the necessity and power of the cross and the grace offered through it. It comes from denying God's Son. It is perhaps the most un-Christian response we can have to God and yet it is what so many of us as Christians can get mired in. God wants nothing more than to free you from the guilt and shame that all too often bury us. 

The Way Home

There are consequences to a life lived outside of grace. Grace, unconditional and undeserved love, is the only authentic love. Everything else is a cheap imitation that has neither the power to heal nor save us. 

A life without grace truly is a life without God. This is especially true once we recognize that we are imperfect and need a God who offers a path to himself outside of the law and fairness. Simply put: we need Jesus and his grace. We need grace from God to have a relationship with God. 

A life without God and without the perfect unending supply of love called grace becomes a disoriented, disfigured, and disordered life. A life without God and without love shrivels and destroys our soul in this life... and the next. However, a life with God brings life to our souls forever. So we need to decide: are we going to accept God's grace or reject it?

Guilt is a sign that we are rejecting grace on some level. It's not that we're necessarily bad people, but instead that we've missed in some way the Good News of God. The greater our "yes" to God grows, the smaller our guilt becomes. In Heaven God promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Our experience of Heaven begins now on earth when we welcome God and his undeserved grace more deeply into our lives.

Will you more personally welcome grace and reject guilt with this prayer while inviting God and a greater healing in your life?

Final Prayer:

God,

I know that you died so that I may welcome your grace. I also know that your grace is the cure for my guilt. I accept your grace into my life today to rescue me from my sins and direct me  out of a lifestyle of guilt and shame. Guilt is not your plan for me in Jesus Christ. Grace is your plan. I welcome your plan and put my whole life in your hands. I welcome you, the God of the universe, to be the God of my life and my Savior. 

Amen.

Connect

If you have been blessed by this devotional and are not actively involved in your church, get involved–while our relationship with God is personal, it is not meant to be private. 

If you would like to learn more about, partner with, or support our young ministry, visit our website. We are ReEngaged Ministries, and God has set us aside to lead Catholics into a personal relationship with God and a life lived under grace in the heart of the Catholic Church. We have also been set aside to collaborate with Christians in any church that proclaims Christ as Savior and Lord. Our website is: https://reengagedministries.com

The contents of this devotional were taken from Dan Tarrant's book, More God. Less Guilt. Dan is the founder and director of ReEngaged Ministries.