Overwhelmed with thoughts of past sin, shame and regrets? Do you feel powerless to change? I have good news. Jesus Christ is alive and still healing, delivering and restoring lives. In this blog post we explore ways to overcome sin and shame from the bible, and 4 steps you can follow to overcome sin and shame through faith in God.
Beloved, God loves you right where you are.
Turn to Him, trust in His ways, and invite Him into your heart and situation. He can take what the enemy meant for harm, and work it for good.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Corinthian Church, 2Corinthians 5:17 KJV
I believe His love can heal and restore broken hearts, because He’s done it for me, and for so many of my friends. I trust He will do it for you too.
Jesus is able to help you overcome sin and shame.
It may not happen in an instant. Sometimes it takes a process of prayer, repentance and receiving healing from the Lord. This empowers us to live from a place of joy, and it gives glory to God. It is the Spirit of God that sets us free. In this sermon, Set free by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, pastor John Piper explains:
…“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because (look!) the Spirit is at work in them to give them victories over sin!”Pastor John Piper, DesiringGod.org
Don’t just take my word for it. Let me introduce you to King David of Israel. A person just like us. He sinned, made mistakes, and yet deep down he loved the Lord. When people treated him poorly, even treacherously, David turned to God.
In Psalm 25, King David is crying out to the Lord asking for deliverance and also forgiveness. He trusted God would answer, with faithfulness and truth.
Let’s read this Psalm and apply it to our own lives by turning it into a prayer for healing and deliverance.
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.
Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!Psalm 25 – A Psalm of King David – NIV
Jesus Christ can bring healing to your heart and change your life. I know because He did it for me.
He is not limited by space or time. Holy Spirit is moving upon the earth, removing the shame of sin and making people new. It’s not just an esoteric theory. It’s a spiritual and physical reality, only the Lord can do.
I am thankful that as a new believer in Christ, I had people around me who loved the Lord and gave me the guidance I needed to grow in my faith, and surrender more and more areas of my life to Christ. His leadership is perfect.
If you are not sure if you are saved, or are wondering how to put your faith in Jesus, check out this blogpost, “Am I Saved?”.
I learned about His character through the bible, and meeting with other women who were strong in the Lord and who spoke His truth into my heart. They also taught me about the power of humbly repenting to God and receiving His forgiveness. I began to extend forgiveness to others, and over time, God restored my heart and my life.
Being part of a community of believers is vitally important. Seek out women who love the Lord, a church full of people you can trust, and prayerfully seek out a friend who can hold your hand through the process of seeking healing.
If you don’t have anyone with you, let me encourage you, go right to the Lord. He is able to meet you where you are.
I give it all to You God, trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of me…”Lyrics, “I lean not on my own understanding” – sung by Leon Timbo
4 suggestions on how to invite God to remove sin and shame from your life.
1. Ask Jesus to be your Healer and Deliverer, your Savior
For those people who have put their trust in Him as their Messiah, or Savior, a supernatural exchange happens. Jesus in His mercy, and great love for us, removes the heaviness that we felt, and replaces it with joy.
I believe it’s the mercy of God that opened my eyes to the fact that I needed Him. I lived 40 years not knowing there was a God who was truly good, and loved me. And His ways are so much wiser than my own.
So I invite you to admit your need to God. Ask Him to come to your rescue. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life and the Good Shepherd of your soul.
Here are two scriptures to anchor your hope:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joyPsalm 30:11 NLT
2. Admit your sin and ask Him to forgive you. And try your best to forgive anyone else who has hurt you.
You don’t need to have another person with you, but if you have a believer you trust, ask them to pray with you. I would strongly suggest you find a woman if you are a woman. This is mainly to guard your heart.
My heartfelt belief is that repentance is a gift. When we acknowledge our sin to the Lord, apologize and invite Him into our situations, our hearts, our minds, He is faithful to forgive and immediately that sin is forgotten in His eyes.
I had my share of shame and baggage from my past. Most of it’s effects lingered deep inside my soul, secretly controlling my life and choices. Satan no doubt kept me stuck in the same cycle of “surviving my way”.
But as I repented, God helped me overcome sin and shame, and continually brought healing to my heart. I no longer wanted to live the way I did before He became my Lord and Savior. I began to delight in His ways more and more. His Presence began to increase with joy in my life. Today, whenever I feel weak, or even stumble, God is there to strengthen me. He can do the same for you!
If you don’t know if you can stop sinning, ask Him to give you strength to stop. Ask Holy Spirit for wisdom on how to put up safe and good boundaries, according to His word. God’s ways are designed to help us live in a way that we can receive the fullness of His blessings. Remember the Holy Spirit is our Helper. You are not alone.
In my life, before I accepted Jesus as my Lord, I didn’t understand I needed boundaries to experience true freedom. I needed Jesus to bring healing and wholeness to my heart, so that I could love others rightly. And I needed to know my identity in Him.
I am deeply loved, a new creation in Christ, totally accepted, and completely forgiven!Quote – The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes by Robert McGee
3. Receive His Forgiveness.
When Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and your sins and the sins of every person created, His sacrifice was sufficient to pay the price for your sin. Therefore only He is able to truly forgive your sins. He paid for them with His blood. Jesus provided the currency for your redemption from the guilt and eternal punishment for that sin by dying on the cross. And demonstrated His authority by raising Himself up from the grave.
After you receive the forgiveness of the Lord, you should feel a lifting of your spirit, or even joy in your heart. He takes away the shame of our mistakes and deposits hope into our hearts.
His word declares:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.Psalm 103:11-12 NIV
Sometimes the hardest thing is to forgive ourselves. But if God is able to forgive and truly forget, loving yourself well includes forgiving and releasing yourself from condemnation.
Be assured, when you repent and ask God for forgiveness, it’s already in His heart to forgive. He’s not going to hold onto your mistakes.
It may be your friends and family also can’t get past your mistakes. We can apologize, and genuinely try to change. We can try to make amends for our wrongdoing. But somehow they still see us through the label of our shortcomings. Or lastly, perhaps you are judging yourself in that harsh way.
Remember, He’s not like the world, which seeks to dig up and rehash old sins and mistakes. Once it’s forgiven, He’s forgotten it. But be on guard for the enemy of your soul, satan, who will try to bring you back into thoughts of condemnation over forgiven past mistakes.
Here is a very practical audio teaching that reminded me of the importance of being vigilant against spiritual attacks and strategies to overcome recurring thoughts of past sin or mistakes. It’s by Marsha Burns of Faith Tabernacle who created the daily email encouragement, Small Straws in a Soft Wind.
4. Celebrate your new life in Christ!
Live like the new creation that you are! When you become “born again”, or repent and receive forgiveness from your sins you are made new. A supernatural exchange has happened. You are washed clean! Know that Holy Spirit will help you overcome sin and shame. In Christ you have become a pure and spotless bride.
Delight in the Lord! Pray and ask the Lord what’s next!
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.Psalm 23:6 NIV
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find community with believers who are living for God, and turning from lives of sin. God intended us to live in community. Don’t go it alone!
- Get yourself a bible and begin reading it! Ask the Lord to reveal mysteries of God through His word.
- Don’t let the devil tell you you’re the same. Learn about the Armor of God and how to use the word of God and prayer to resist the devil’s condemning attacks.
- Avoid situations, and people who tempt you to sin. Guard your newfound freedom.
Beloved, I hope this has been helpful for you.
To recap, in this blogpost about How to Overcome Sin and Shame, we have covered:
- The importance of turning to Jesus, trusting in Him and inviting Him into our situation.
- Finding a community of women who love the Lord, and can encourage you in your faith is really important.
- Jesus can take what the enemy meant for harm, and work it for good.
- God loves you right where you are. Invite Him into your life, things will begin to shift.
- No one who waits upon, or trusts in the Lord will ever be put to shame.
- Repentance and forgiveness is a gift from God that brings healing and joy to our hearts.
- One we are forgiven by Christ, our sins are washed away, completely removed from us in God’s eyes.
- In Christ, you are deeply loved, a new creation, totally accepted, and completely forgiven
His real love delivers, heals, restores, and protects. I pray these steps were helpful to you, as you journey into the fullness of God’s love and plan for your life. He has done great things in my life, and my prayer is that you too would feel the fullness of His love for you.
I’d love to hear how faith helped you overcome sin and shame. Please share in the comments or contact me here to share, and ask for prayer!