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Posts Tagged ‘Lynn Bell’

Romans 8:1 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It reminds me, no matter how bad I flub things, I am accepted, not because of what I’ve done but because of what’s been done for me. That’s not to say God doesn’t convict me … often, but it is to say, that even when He’s unveiling my heart, I know I still rest in the palm of His hands. That’s a powerful reminder, one that allows me to move past guilt to love-driven obedience. Today Lynn Bell, author of the Gentle Savior, talks about guilt and what the Christian should do about it.

Putting Guilt in its Place by Lynn Bell

As I read a new Christian book recently, I realized that I am often selfishly concerned about my physical appearance and what people think of me. A familiar feeling of guilt rose up in my heart. Like you, I want to please God, but when I compare myself to the ideals of scripture and the sinless perfection of Jesus, it seems like I will never do enough or be enough. Since I know I’ll never get life completely right, it almost seems like it would be wrong not to experience a pervasive sense of guilt.

Sometimes I forget that God actually sent Jesus so I wouldn’t be guilty any more.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…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. (Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. (Romans 8:34 NLT)

So why do Christians still feel guilty? Guilt does have a place in a healthy relationship with God, but it’s not the role we often give it. We’re used to the way other people in our lives use guilt—that is, to manipulate us into doing what they want and to keep us doing it. Some parents do it, spouses do it, our children do it, even our spiritual leaders sometimes do it. God doesn’t use guilt that way, however.

Just as physical pain warns us that something has gone awry with our anatomy, guilt tells us that something is wrong in our relationship with God. Guilt has a healthy purpose: to produce change. It only becomes unhealthy when we ignore it.

When I became aware that I was guilty of self-centeredness, I did something about it. I repented; that is, I experienced a change of heart and determined that I didn’t like focusing on myself instead of others (II Corinthians 7:8-9). If I had hurt someone specifically, I would have apologized. If I had stolen something or destroyed someone’s property, I would have demonstrated my repentance by making restitution.

I confessed my sin to God and, in this case, to the ladies in my Bible study group (I John 1:7-9, James 5:16).

Then I laid my guilt at the foot of the cross. I accepted his forgiveness and rejoiced because I trust that he has declared me “not guilty” (Romans 4:7-8).

You can read how King David dealt with his guilt in Psalm 51, and you’ll find that even though he was guilty of adultery and murder, he followed a very similar process.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; (v. 4)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (v. 10)
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it….
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (v. 16-17)
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (v. 2)
Restore to me the joy of your salvation. (v. 12)

Guilt is not a fruit of the Spirit. It was never intended to be a way of life for the people of God. God gave us guilt to keep us close to him, and he gave us Jesus to take away our guilt.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1)

Lynn Bell is the author of a new Bible study, The Gentle Savior: Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of the Women Who Met Him. She blogs at http://thegentlesavior.com

The Gentle Savior: 

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!”This 10-week Bible study joins a thirsty-hearted Samaritan woman in inviting you to meet a man who looks into a woman’s heart and knows exactly what she needs. Who values women regardless of their marital status, professional skills, sexual history, or financial position. Who notices both the heroic faith of women in desperate circumstances and the quiet suffering of sisters racked by grief and chronic illness. Who invites women to work alongside Him and use their intellectual capacity to know him more fully. Who inspires women to give extravagantly and to stay by his side when all the world abandons him.The women of the Gospels discovered in every encounter with Jesus that he was no ordinary first-century rabbi, but a gentle Savior who reflected on them the face of his compassionate Father.This Bible study workbook guides the reader through all the Gospel passages dealing with Jesus and women and concludes with a list of the Top Ten Things Jesus Never said to a Woman.

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(Join me on Jewels of Encouragement today as I talk about what it means to truly be free. If you are in Christ, you have been set free…from anger, hate, fear, anxiety, shame, bitterness, addiction, all those things that once held us in bondage. But to truly experience that freedom, we need to let go with both hands.)

Today’s post comes from Lynn Bell. Originally posted on October 11, it recounts one of my favorite passages of Scripture, the account of the Samaritan woman. In our day and culture, I think it’s hard for us to truly understand the significance of what Christ did when He met this scandalous woman at the well. As you read today’s post, I pray through it, God would show you the depths of His love, mercy and grace. For He came to seek and to save the lost, not the righteous, and to set the captives free.

What Do You See in Sychar?

One day when Jesus needed a break from the Pharisees’ antics, he left Judea and headed back to Galilee for a while. Instead of taking the typical Jewish route east across the Jordan River and up, he headed due north through Samaria.

As the disciples strolled into the village of Sychar, the alien territory vibes were strong. They looked around and saw a despised race of people who looked different, talked different, and worshipped different. Left to their own devices, the disciples would never have been there at all. Most Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritans (John 4:9), and the disciples were not yet able to see beyond what their culture told them to see.

Jesus, doing the will of his Father, saw something entirely different in Sychar—something that made his travel route an unquestionable necessity. He saw a field ripe for harvest—a village full of people who were ready to meet a Savior.

The disciples left Jesus at Jacob’s well and went off to fill their bellies. When they returned, they were dismayed to find what looked to them like Jesus breaking a centuries-old taboo—conversing not just with a Samaritan but with a Samaritan woman.

What Jesus probably saw instead was a beloved child of God with a desperately thirsty soul—a cherished daughter who had been passed around from man to man for most of her adult life. Not only that, but he probably knew she would need only a sip of his living water before she would run back to the village and sprinkle it like quick-grow fertilizer over everyone she knew.

Ask any Jew, and you would probably be told that the Samaritans weren’t interested in the truth, that they would be the last people to repent and place their faith in the Messiah. Yet, the people of Sychar came running to Jesus, and many of them believed. A village was changed that day because Jesus ignored the boundaries of human bigotry and crossed over into Samaritan territory with a message of love and truth.

We each have a Samaria in our lives. At least one. A place of strange, unfamiliar people whom we go out of our way to avoid. Where is your Samaria? Is it an inner city neighborhood? Is it a community of illegal immigrants or with people of Arabic descent? Is it with people who doubt God’s existence? Is it an AA meeting or a homeless shelter? A hospice room inhabited by HIV positive women? A street corner where prostitutes earn their trade?

I heard about some women from a church in San Diego who visit strip clubs and deliver gift bags to the exotic dancers who work there. Imagine the impact of that simple but courageous act of grace by God’s people, who the world usually associates more with self-righteous condemnation.

When God sends you into Sychar, will you go and will you see what He sees? Can you cross over into hostile territory and reach out to some thirsty foreign woman who desperately needs a cup of living water?

By Lynn Bell, author of The Gentle Savior, a Bible study on seeing Jesus through the eyes of the women who met him. Lynn blogs at the Gentle Savior

The Gentle Savior:

The Gentle Savior – Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of the Women Who Met Him

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!”

This 10-week Bible study joins a thirsty-hearted Samaritan woman in inviting you to meet a man who looks into a woman’s heart and knows exactly what she needs. Who values women regardless of their marital status, professional skills, sexual history, or financial position. Who notices both the heroic faith of women in desperate circumstances and the quiet suffering of sisters racked by grief and chronic illness. Who invites women to work alongside Him and use their intellectual capacity to know him more fully. Who inspires women to give extravagantly and to stay by his side when all the world abandons him.

The women of the Gospels discovered in every encounter with Jesus that he was no ordinary first-century rabbi, but a gentle Savior who reflected on them the face of his compassionate Father.

**If you loved today’s post and would like to see it make it to the top three of 2011, FB share it, tweet it, like it, or leave a comment. And may Christ fill your thirsty soul to overflowing this December morning!

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