Are you struggling with:
These things can separate us from God.
I have struggled in these things. You are not alone! We will struggle with sin and the things of this world until the redemption of our bodies. However, I KNOW that you can truly find freedom in Christ.
This seems silly, but I want you to write out everything that you are struggling with. Every feeling that doesn’t align with who you know you are in Christ – depression, hopelessness, sadness, despair, unforgiveness. Write every thought or action you are struggling with – sins, addictions. Also write down ANYTHING that you might love more than you love God (shown by where you put your time, effort, thoughts, actions, money, attention). Write out anything you feel guilty about, hurts you can’t let go of, fears. Put it all down on paper.
Truly examine your heart. Take some time, a day, a number of hours, a week, to think about all these things and write them down privately. Ask God to bring things to mind, and then record everything that pops into your head.
Is there anything in your heart you are holding back from God? “I want to follow You, BUT ???” Write down all the BUTS.
Once you have it all written down – don’t leave anything out – I want you to pray over it. Read the list out loud to God. You can expand or explain how you feel about any of them, and tell Him how you want Him to take them out of your heart and fill your heart with Him instead. And then give them to Him:
“All these things, these are my struggles. I’m not able to overcome them in my own strength. I give You all of this. It’s too big a burden for me to bear. I give it to YOU, God.”
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Personally, I have found it helpful to release these burdens from my heart by then burning my list (but you could rip it up or just throw it out instead). I found a large glass jar, ripped up my list, and burned it:
I then gathered the ashes and put them in a bottle to keep in my “spiritual mementos” jar. In there I keep anything that reminds me of a time when I felt especially close to God, or when He answered a specific prayer, or what I am battling trying to yield to Him. For me, this is similar to when they used to build an “altar of remembrance” out of stones in the Old Testament. Or when Naaman brought back home some of Israel’s dirt.
After this, whenever these thoughts, temptations, or fears come to mind that you have given to God, say to them (out loud or in your head) something like
- “STOP, in the name of Jesus.”
- “I give this to You, God, it’s too big for me. Take it away.”
- “I bind this thought in Jesus’ Name, and command it to leave.”
You may have to say it a few times to get the thought or feeling to stop. Do this EVERY TIME the thoughts/feelings/temptations come into your head.
If new items come up, feel free to repeat the process.
I am praying that the Holy Spirit will use this powerfully to change your life. God desires to give you life, and life abundantly. He has so many plans for you! I praying that He fills you with His truth instead and that He will remove the lies of the enemy that would seek to destroy you.
NOTE: On Rituals and Symbols
A dear sister in Christ pointed out that the above is similar in some ways to the pagan practice of burning the past as a cleansing or releasing ritual. I have spent several days examining this.
Rituals help us to pause and orient ourselves amidst the busyness of life. Celebrations, holidays, and family life are full of rituals. Water baptism and communion are rituals. Church services are usually quite ritual (depending on the denomination). Rituals are not bad in and of themselves. I don’t feel like I am prescribing a ritual, so much as a tangible symbol of a spiritual process.
Pagan burning rituals involve energy transfers – “releasing bad energy into nothingness” and “diffusing it on the wind.” The process described above has nothing to do with energy transference, or bad energy, or vibrations, or any such new age or pagan beliefs. If you are viewing it as such, PLEASE DON’T DO IT!!!
Instead, please think of this as a tangible reminder, a symbol, of the spiritual process you are going through of releasing your struggles to God as per 1 Peter 5:7:
Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.
For further information on this, I highly recommend Gotquestions: “How should a Christian deal with feelings of guilt regarding past sins, whether pre- or post-salvation?”