"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
Through my experience in talking with and ministering to people, I can confidently say most individuals have an easier time accepting God's forgiveness for their sin than forgiving themselves. For some reason, we believe that we must punish ourselves for the sins we have committed. We imprison ourselves by retreating and withdrawing from all "godly activities" for a period of time until we feel redeemed and worthy to rejoin the "Christian world". We forget the benefit of being forgiven by God is living in freedom. Satan wants us in this predicament - living in the guilt of our sin instead of the freedom of forgiveness. When we hold on to that which God has already forgiven, we become ineffective believers: powerless to promote the gospel of Christ. The words from the treasured hymn, O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing clearly defines what God's forgiveness does for the believer. Revisit the words of the fourth stanza with me:
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.
Oh sweet friend, past sin only has the power you give it.
In Psalms, King David realizes the power sin has on his life. He cries out to God in Psalm 51 after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband Uriah. He asks God for exactly what he needs: to be restored.
I don't know what burden you are carrying with you today, but after asking His forgiveness, God does not intend for you to hold on to it any longer. God has already forgiven you and through the Holy Spirit you have the power to forgive yourself and let it go. One of my favorite verses in God's Word is 2 Timothy 1:7. Read it in the King James translation: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Don't be afraid, be empowered! Read and pray the words of King David from Psalm 51:10-12:
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Don't let the power of an accusing memory steal the joy and freedom of God's forgiveness. Grasp the reality that God loves you and has restored you unto Himself through your confession and acknowledgement of your sin.
Lord, today I acknowledge my need to be free from the accusing memory of past sins. I am asking You to restore me unto Yourself. Hold me close and wipe away all past sins from my memory so that I may live free and testify to Your grace and power. In Jesus' name, Amen.
The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham
Locate and sing out loud the words of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing. Memorize stanza four. Each time the accusing memory of a past sin comes in your mind, sing or recite stanza four.
What keeps me from living in the freedom of forgiveness? How will my life change today, after God's answers my prayer for the day? Is there someone I need to forgive?
Psalm 32:5, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin." (NIV)
Psalm 71:20,"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." (NIV)
2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (NIV)