Pastor Steven Furtick of North Carolina's Elevation Church shared how believers can break free from the chains of their past by focusing on the righteousness they have been given in Jesus Christ, rather than on the shame their past sins may have brought.
Furtick reminded his congregation that Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit who will convict the world in regards to sin and righteousness.
"But here's what set me free. If you hear the next part I'm about to say and believe it and work it into your life, it will change the way God changes you," the pastor said in his message titled, "How to Break Free from the Chains of Your Past," part of a series of sermons on the Holy Spirit.
"I thought God convicted me of my sin by showing me my shame. I found out that God doesn't convict a believer of their sin by showing us our shame. God convicts a believer of their sin by reminding us of our righteousness," said Furtick, the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., who posted a clip from the message on his personal blog on Thursday.
"Ask the Lord to remind you of your righteousness," he said. "And you know what He'll remind you of? Not your works, not your efforts, not your trying and reaching and always coming up short. But He'll show you Jesus, because Jesus is your righteousness. And the Holy Spirit will point you to... Jesus nailed to the cross. He'll point you to the one who hung on the cross and went down in the grave and buried our sins, and rose on the third day and lives forever to declare His righteousness over your life, and remember your sins no more."
The pastor underlined that God doesn't look at our lives through the lens of what we did; He looks at us through the lens of what His Son did. "And He was perfect, and He was pure, and He was always faithful."
God has a selective memory, Furtick added. "Instead of remembering my sins, He replaces my sins by remembering the sacrifice of His Son. This is the Gospel the Holy Spirit wants to preach to you every day of your life."
Furtick, the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Greater, and the national bestseller, Sun Stand Still, is taking his congregation through a series of sermons called "Ghost Stories," which is focused on the Holy Spirit and His purpose in the lives of believers.
One of Satan's greatest weapons against Christians is our past, says the pastor on his blog.
The Holy Spirit "drags us through the mud of our mistakes, trying to remind us of our unworthiness," he says. "And for many of us, we think this is the same way God sees us – broken and beat down, covered in our shame. But for believers in Christ, for those who have accepted the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, this couldn't be further from the truth."