I just wanted to share with everyone a victory that Christ has had in my life today.
As I said in my introduction, and if you read a comment that I left in a recent post by Steve called "How Far is Too Far Before Marriage" you'll know what I'm talking about, some of the sins during my walk with Christ have left open doors for satan to tempt me to despair of my salvation. I have experienced great victories through God's promises to me over the past year and a half but from time to time those feelings of condemnation surge up and attempt to swallow me whole.
Yesterday I was lacking the feeling of the assurance of my salvation in Christ and couldn't shake the feeling all day. To make matters even worse, I was battered with the temptation of lust throughout the day. Satan was able to use those two things to repeatedly whisper in my ear, "no child of God would doubt his salvation like you do and he definitely wouldn't struggle with temptation with such little success like you." I listened to these lies instead of standing firmly on God's promises which made it extremely difficult to come to God in prayer.
This morning I woke up battered and bruised from yesterday's battle, feeling afraid, defeated, and without hope. I knew I couldn't stay in that place all day so I came to God the only way I could. I told Him my fear of coming before Him asking for forgiveness. I also asked Him to forgive me for the lust that I had succumbed to yesterday. I explained how defeated I felt and how I was unable to do anything about it. I told Him that I was so tired of battling these fears and feelings. All I could do was ask for help.
God then proceeded to remind me that I was feeling the way I was because I was walking in unbelief in regards to the promise of forgiveness through the blood of His son. I asked Him to forgive me and help my unbelief.
He then put 1 John 1:9 in my mind: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Then the verse came alive to me and the knowledge that I had been forgiven shone like a light in my heart.
Of course I knew that verse before but what was so different now? When God brought that verse to mind he was gracious and faithful to unite it with faith! Just reading the promises of God does nothing if they are not united with the faith that they are true for us in Christ Jesus. "For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard" (Hebrews 4:2).
If you know you aren't believing the promises of God when you read them or are reminded of them, don't be discouraged and give up. Ask for God to unite His promises with faith so they will be profitable to you. He loves His children and wants you to be assured of this love so that we can be empowered to live boldly for Him and He will be faithful to provide you with what you need!
This isn't the first time that Jesus has won this victory in my heart. I would love for it to be the last time He has to defeat my fears, doubts, and guilt but one thing I can be assured of: I can "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that [I] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16) whenever the need arises in the future. "Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything" (1 John 3:20).