I used to struggle with guilt — guilt for sinful behavior, things I thought I could have done better, but most of all, guilt for experiencing blessings from God that I didn’t see others enjoying. I felt guilty for answered prayers and for better circumstances than my friends.
I knew that “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus,” but for some reason, it was easier to feel forgiven for my sins, trusting Jesus had really taken them away from me as far is the east is from the west, than for me not to feel guilty about being blessed by God’s hand of mercy and love.
But one day I heard someone say that guilt is from the devil and that conviction is from the Holy Spirit. That moment was eye-opening for me and started me down a path to enjoy God’s goodness and very real character displayed in my life.
Has the enemy tried to make you feel bad for the good things in your life? Do you feel guilty for having prayers answered? Are you being shamed by the enemy for God’s goodness displayed in your life?
I had allowed the devil to trick me from living in the freedom Jesus provides. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about sin I needed to turn from and He was teaching me how to listen to Him better and obey. But the guilt was still heavy on me — not about sin but about God’s blessings that He had poured into my life.
I remember being in small groups at church and dreading the time when it was time for me to share my testimony. I didn’t feel like Jesus had saved me from enough. I felt bad for how easy my life had been compared to the others in the group. I allowed guilt to make me feel the need to apologize for things I didn’t have to endure or weren’t part of my story.
I allowed guilt to silence my praises to the One who had protected, provided, sacrificed, and loved me. I allowed comparison to lessen what God had done in my life — healing a disease, breaking my perfectionist spirit, changing my headstrong ways, redirecting my career path, being content in singleness, creating in me a new heart to love a child and overcoming infertility.
Guilt can be hard to get rid of. Its best friend is shame and that always leaves us silenced to ask for help or to praise Jesus.
I confessed to God I felt guilty about everything. I told Him I felt undeserving. I didn’t know why lives were so different and things were unfair. I didn’t understand why He would bless me so much. I was having a hard time accepting the answers to prayers I had prayed and how good God really was to me.
It had become easier to focus on God and try to praise Him in my perseverance in the hard situations than to praise Him when the prayer was answered, when the long-awaited gift finally came, when He revealed more of His tangible goodness in my life.
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that blessings should only create a thankful heart and praises to our King — not comparison, guilt, or shame. Those three things have been nailed to the cross with our sin.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
James 1:17 (NLT)
Like the sunlight of today, God pours down His good gifts on us. This is part of His character. He never changes, and God does not cast a shadow on our situations. The gifts should make us respond with praises to Him in the glow of His light in our lives.
Freedom to praise God for His goodness in our lives is how Jesus dwells with us. He lives in our praises. As Psalm 22:3 says, “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
I have come to realize I live in answered prayers. I have become a living example to others of how God keeps His word and comes through on His promises. I can reveal Him to others by the hope of His goodness in my life.
We often spend a lot of time praying for something or someone. And when the answer comes, when we see God move on our behalf and answer our prayers, we give a quick “Thank you, Jesus!” and move on. But after being released from the overwhelming guilt for the goodness God had poured in my life, I now can’t help myself but to share the stories time and again. Some people collect memory stones, I celebrate with cake. I force the celebration of the big and the small to extend the praise and stamp it in my heart and document it in my mind.
Do you spend as much time praising God and celebrating the victory of overcoming, praising Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon you, as you do you praying through the hardships? There doesn’t need to be embarrassment or guilt for blessings. We can celebrate God’s mercy, love, and our answered prayers, reminding us of our role as child of the King and simultaneously giving hope to others waiting on their blessing.
Let’s not cower away from sharing what God has done in our midst and on our behalf because we are worried about someone else’s jealousy. Share with thanksgiving the kindness of God. In that, there is real, tangible hope. Enjoy the blessings He has bestowed on you and be thankful, not guilty.
Let’s not cower away from sharing what God has done in our midst and on our behalf because we are worried about someone else’s jealousy. -Stephanie Bryant: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
My husband (who grew up Catholic) used to say that I would have made a good Catholic because I “do guilt” really well. I chuckle now, but I struggled for a long time about feeling guilty for my blessings when so many other people were hurting. Guilt still rears its ugly head sometimes, like when I feel guilty that God has blessed me with a wonderful godly husband after many years of an ungodly marriage. What about my other single friends who long for the same? Therefore, there is now NO condemnations for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1). That scripture was on my mirror for years. Condemnation and false guilt are from the enemy. The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts when we’ve done something sinful, but never condemns. Big difference! You said it beautifully, how God wants to give us good gifts and we are honoring Him when we praise Him for His gifts in our lives, and walk in joy and freedom!
Beth Williams says
There are times I feel a little guilty for being blessed. Like you I didn’t have much of a testimony for a while. Then I got to deal with aging parents & their dementia. Now I feel as though I have a smidge of a testimony. No I haven’t been through divorce, major illness or loss. I did deal with geriatric psych & went through that valley to the other side. I got to witness my dad getting baptized. Now when I pray I start by praising Him. Thanking Him for ALL the blessings He’s bestowed upon me. I even weep sometimes when I thank Him for dying for little ol me-a nobody. The enemy loves to see us down & depressed. He wants nothing more than for us to stop praying & feel guilty. We don’t deserve all this goodness he hisses. No we don’t! That’s God’s amazing Grace. Simply put grace is getting what I don’t deserve. God loves us so much He wants to lavish many gifts upon us. He gives much to some so that we can help the less fortunate. It is our way of sharing His word & shedding His light in this dark world.
Sharon Beck says
What is the end to your story Stephanie? What is the long-awaited gift? How old are you?… It had become easier to focus on God and try to praise Him in my perseverance in the hard situations than to praise Him when the prayer was answered, when the long-awaited gift finally came, when He revealed more of His tangible goodness in my life.
Stephanie Bryant says
I’ve had many long awaited miracles from the Lord in my life of 41 years. He healed me after a health battle of 20 years. I had a miracle daughter after 7 years of praying. And I was able to be the co-founder of (in)courage after 5 years of passionately trying to create a place for women like us.
I am beyond blessed. I have a wonderful wonderful husband, who had two jobs. I ve been given the oppertunity to work and ve promoters. Two great daughters and doteing boyfriends. Both my parents are still alive! I live in a beautiful community filled with good good people!
I praise God everyday and I sure give back, a lot. But I also feel so guilty that God , life, bosses have all taken favor with me.
Kathy Cheek ~ First Breath of Morning Devotional says
I heard a pastor once say that we are always in a storm, or getting ready to go through a storm, or coming out of a storm, referring to the difficult trials in our lives. And although that can be true, it is not a fact. We are not always going through hard times – and thank you for writing about this.
And when we are in good seasons, we shouldn’t be waiting for something bad to happen. I have a devotion in my book titled, Not Always a Storm which makes the point: If life was always a storm, the sun would never shine!
I am exactly the same. I have been blessed so much and prayers answered yet I feel unworthy. It’s such a messed up mindset. Thank you for this post and I am loving ‘the Jesus lead adventure podcast!! Please keep them coming x
Stephanie Bryant says
Thank you so much for listening to my podcast!
This is such timely encouragement for me. My husband of 51 years went to be with the Lord 3 months ago, and I had begun to feel a bit guilty about all the blessings God has poured out on me in those 3 months. He has provided in incredible ways, proving over and over again that He is a good, good God! It has been my joy to share with others what He has done for me, but I was beginning to feel a bit guilty—especially around other widows struggling with their loss. Thanks for this encouragement to continue giving God praise and glory for all He has done and continues to do!
Stephanie Bryant says
I absolutely love how you see God and experience His blessings in such a difficult time. Your words are such a light and great perspective. I’m so sorry your husband passed on.
Becky Keife says
Anne, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m also grateful for your testimony of God’s goodness in your life. xx
yes that guilt is toxic ! I have experienced it after we bought our home. friends pulled away because God’s blessing to us made them jealous..was I to have guilt ? We are humble people but sometimes others use their jealousy ( even tho they are christian) to make us turn to feelings of guilt. it’s not fair and certainly not what God expects after he hands out a blessing !!
I have learned that just because others will react one way or another I do not need guilt ; just hold yourself in the knowledge that you have been blessed and that God blesses according to his ideas , others will be blessed too in various ways. I don’t have guilt any longer but am careful who I share with..
Subi Wilks says
Thank you for this, and for that great little mantra to repeat to myself: “Guilt is from the devil and conviction is from the Holy Spirit.” That’s a reminder I need.
P.S. May I gently point out that the word you want in your tweet is cower, not coward?
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We all have story to tell of how a wonder God saved us. Some of us came through a hard battle. But it don’t matter we are saved. Now part of Gods big wonderful family. His blessing now bring good guilt that we can praise him about. That we are saved. I still tell God many time I find it hard being saved. As I know from time to time I mess up this where I feel guilty. I do and say things I should not. There be days I not say or read my Bible or my prayers the way I should. Or now and then not at all. Then I feell guilty that I have done all theses things as follower of Jesus. I then say God I have messed up again. That is why I find it so hard at times to a follower of yours. But I am glad to saved. I would not go back I tell God many times. To not being saved. I am glad too be saved. I ask God once again will he forgive me if I said or done anything that I should not have done. Plus to forgive me for if I have not spent time reading his word the Bible or praying. Then I feel better and not as guilty. I then ask God to help me spend more time with him reading his word the Bible and saying my prayer’s. Plus being the follower he wants me to be. I usually then here God say Dawn my Child I Love You. I have forgiven You. Don’t feel so Guilty over theses things. I am glad you are trying. I Love a tryer. I Love the fact you do read the Bible and say your Prayers. Try your best to live as best as follower of mine. I then say thank you God for still loving me. Even when I find it hard to be a follower of yours. But I wouldn’t change back to my old whys because I Love you God too Much. Excellent reading today as always. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little.
Yesssss amen sister! I have felt this way also but thank God He is helping me not to feel this guilt but instead praise him for all the joy and blessings He has given me. I pray that we praise our gracious God in all seasons. Thank you for sharing this Stephanie!
Becky Keife says
Comparison, guilt, or shame … have been nailed to the cross with our sin. Yes!! Such a good and powerful reminder. Thank you, Stephanie.