I just finished reading this passage from Nehemiah 8. The basic gist of the story is that the Israelite people hadn't been reading or learning from their book of the Law very well, often or much... They decided to try again... Once the priests and head guys read the book to them and explained what it meant, apparently they started weeping...
The response from their teachers, not what I expected... v. 10 "Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!"
I think this story resembles a lot of what I have felt over the years. But praise Jesus, I am starting to learn a new reality. Instead of getting discouraged or heaping on more guilt and shame when I realize I am falling short of where God wants me to be, I need to start rejoicing that I am even aware of the need and the truth to change and have started the journey. God's strength will help me change.
Does guilt ever keep you from praying or reading scripture?
Do you ever feel worse about yourself after spending time with Jesus?
If you answered "yes" you aren't alone, but hear the Good News! You don't have to weep and mourn or hold on to guilt and shame... Jesus provides freedom.
God is rejoicing that you are even starting to follow him. Allow The Lord's strength to fill you and change you. The words of scripture even tell us to throw an awesome party!