Removing the Guilt of the Past and the Fear of the Future

Recently I received a letter from a lady who had a unique problem. She said that in just a few weeks she was going to attend her 10-year class reunion. Her husband, who had attended the same school, had bought the tickets months ago and was really looking forward to seeing his old school buddies. Each day he would talk about the reunion. He was excited.

His wife, however, was not so excited about the reunion. Instead, she was filled with dread. Let me quote from her letter. “My husband is expecting a good time at the class reunion. He will probably enjoy himself. He was popular and still looks good. I, however, have put on twenty-five pounds. My hair has gray in it and I look terrible. I’ve tried fixing myself up, but nothing seems to work. Every day takes me one day closer to the humiliation. From the time I wake up till the time I go to bed, I can’t think of anything else. Is there any hope?”

In another letter, a man writing from prison said that he was so filled with the guilt of his past that he couldn’t think about anything else. He said each day was filled with the thoughts of the past.

These two people have different problems but have the same root cause. They have fallen into one of the traps of Satan. If Satan can get us to bring the guilt of yesterday up into today and cause us to bring the fear and anticipation of tomorrow back to the present time, then today will be so full of our past and our future that today we will have no time to do what God wants us to do at this moment in time.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” On the surface that doesn’t sound like a faith statement, but this one statement alone can change your life.

Jesus simply said that we should take care of the business of today, today. Yesterday is gone. It’s like toothpaste that has been squeezed out of the tube. It’s spent. Nothing will bring it back. Guilt and grief today will not bring yesterday back. It’s gone.

Likewise, tomorrow isn’t here yet so nothing you can do today will make tomorrow get here today. God set time into motion, and it is still moving at the same pace it did on the day of creation. No slower, no faster. Nothing you can do will speed it up or slow it down.

So my message today is the same message Jesus gave us 2,000 years ago. Do what God has for you to do today, today. Leave yesterday in the past. If someone hurt you yesterday, then forgive them today and when tomorrow becomes today, your calendar will be clear. It’s that simple.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Most things worried about today never take place tomorrow anyway. They’re just an illusion, a fear of the unknown. But that’s the way Satan works. After all, he is the deceiver. Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan is a liar – always has been, always will be.

Remember these two truths: you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13), and this is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

The theme of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 is learning how to live for the Kingdom of God today and learning how to live without the guilt of the past or the fear of the future.

Living by faith, not by guilt, is God’s plan.

Devotion 0022

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