I was troubled by those thoughts because they were so atypical for me, but they kept coming. I would ask myself, "Where is this coming from? Why am I sitting here thinking about some other woman's husband that I have never even met when I myself am married? And when listening to Bible tapes no less??? This is crazy!" It made no sense to me because I did not yet understand spiritual things. Yet, we need to understand the battle we face when we come to Christ.
I didn't think such thoughts were typical of me, but neither was I aware of all that Satan had placed within me (Jeremiah 17:9). Satan saw me being drawn by the Father and he was pulling out all the stops. I wasn't aware that there was a spirit of whoredoms in my soul, but when I started coming to the Lord, Satan revealed his hand. Not only did he want to stop me from coming to the Lord, he figured he could use me - a vessel he had prepared - to bring down this pastor. In doing so, Satan thought he could keep me as his own, but the Lord was intent on saving my soul.
So as I shared this with both my pastor and his wife that day, my pastor said, "That is not unusual. a lot of women have felt that way; they just would never admit it." He was not talking about himself being some sort of magnet for women. He was talking about the spiritual war every Christian has to face within themselves in order to come to the truth. I want you to know two things:
- If you decide to give your life to the Lord, then you had better know that Satan is going to raise up within you every snare he has planted (a fifth column) to try and stop you...even things you did not know were there. You are going to have to wage a war against these imaginations, thoughts, fears, and unGodly desires in order to be set free (II Corinthians 10:5).
- If you are going to preach the Gospel, then you had better know that Satan is working within many of the those to whom you minister in order to keep them bound and to simultaneously bring you down. Satan wants to keep what is his, but he also wants to destroy the light of your ministry in trying to set others free. You must pray for spiritual discernment not to fall prey to these snares and to have eyes to see the spirits with which you are dealing.
"For since the Law has merely a rude outline (foreshadowing) of the good things to come—instead of fully expressing those things—it can never by offering the same sacrifices continually year after year make perfect those who approach [its altars].
For if it were otherwise, would [these sacrifices] not have stopped being offered? Since the worshipers had once for all been cleansed, they would no longer have any guilt or consciousness of sin." Hebrews 10:1-2
In this text, the cleansing we receive from the blood of Jesus is directly tied to the dismissal of the guilt from sin. We not only need forgiveness from the Lord; we need cleansing. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin (I John 1:7-9); even to the point where we no longer have consciousness or guilt of that sin. You can then be truly free - free to move on from it and even free to share it as a testimony to others.
After speaking with some women once about my experiences with abortion, a woman came up to me privately sharing how she and her husband had an abortion many years ago. They just didn't have the money, she said, to have another child. "I could never tell anyone else that." she said. "Well, maybe over time God will heal you and enable you to share." "No!", she said, "I will never tell."
When I first got married, my mother and I used to lend each other money when our finances were short. Now, there is nothing sinful about that, but the way we handled it made it sinful. It became a secret, something that was just between the two of us to the exclusion of our husbands. By trying to keep our activities under the cover of darkness, we had made a covenant, and that is what made it sin. The Lord always brings the hidden things of darkness to light (I Corinthians 4:5; II Corinthians 4:2).
God tells us to confess our sins because that is our avenue to getting free from them (James 5:16). As long as we keep them bottled up inside, then Satan can use them to condemn and bind us. If Christ has taken our guilt and our shame, then why are we holding on to them? Pride, rejection, and fear wants us to hold on to sin, but your stepping beyond that and letting it go will not only free you, but others also.
This is why it is such a stumbling block to hold on to the law. It can never free you from sin; only the blood of Jesus can. The law is only a shadow of the covenant which was to come (Galatians 3:19).
Why then do people choose to hide in the shadows (Genesis 3:8)? Sin. People cling to the law because they have not been made free in Christ Jesus. Since the sin is still present, they must find a way to keep offering sacrifices for that sin. The simple answer is to just let the sin go and move on in the liberty of the Spirit (Romans 7:6, 8:2; Galatians 3:1-5, 5:18; II Corinthians 3:17).
T.D. Jakes has a sermon out now entitled "From Guilt to Gratitude", where he claims, "It is not sin which torments, but the guilt of sin." Our problem is not sin, he claims; our problem is that we feel guilty about sin. Proceeding then with this logic, if we could just get rid of the guilt of sin (which is the conviction of the Holy Spirit), then we can be fine...even while in sin. Yet the Scriptures say that it is sin which causes us to be in torment (Matthew 18:23-35).
Guess what? If you break out of covenant with sin then you will have nothing to feel guilty about. Do you see how foolish this is? Instead of trying to free yourself from the guilt of sin, why not get free from sin altogether? We can never repay the debt of our sins, so why not just let Jesus take them? This is why He died. Yet, the problem is that people often like the sin, so they are always looking for ways to stay in covenant with it.
Remember, Jesus desires to free you completely so that you don't have to carry any of the baggage from sin: not guilt, not shame, no "what ifs" and "if onlys". Stop looking backwards and keep pressing in to Christ until you have laid every burden down.
"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:13-14