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Monday, December 1, 2008

No Condemnation

I cleaned up the kitchen mess, kissed the kids goodnight and headed off to church to meet with other church leaders for our quarterly meeting. I got out my pen to take notes and realized I hadn't brought my Bible. I chided myself inwardly, thinking, "What kind of spiritual leader can I be?" I hadn't read the Bible much that week and I felt a nagging guilty feeling for not doing more of my ministry responsibilities either.

The pastor began to speak about the traits that make a resilient leader and the sense of failure and condemnation began to grow and burn in my chest. You know, that hollow feeling you get when you realize you don't measure up? The emptiness that reminds you that you're still a great sinner and that you are not the holy person you want to be?

"Everyone must notice this sin (critical spirit, gossip, lying, you name it...)in me... God must be so disappointed in me....I'm such a terrible Christian " and on and on went my thoughts.

As I sorted through my feelings later that night, I turned to God's Word for truth.

Romans 12:1 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

How is it, then, that I get so caught up in these emotions of condemnation?

And how do I know if God is convicting me of sin of which I need to repent or whether it's something that just false condemnation? How do I know the difference?

As I searched the Scriptures and received the counsel of godly men, I came to understand a few ways to distinguish between the condemnation of Satan and the conviction of God.

God's conviction is always very precise. He doesn't convict me of being a "bad" person, but He convicts me of specific sins. The enemy, who is called our accuser, only deals in generalities. Satan points his finger at me and calls me names but he doesn't cut deep to the real sin issues in my heart. Only God does that.

As I sorted through my thoughts after that meeting, I realized that some of what I heard was God's conviction, His gentle, kind hand of correction upon my heart. It caused me to repent, to seek Him for change in my life. But some of the other feelings I had that night were clearly not from God. The general sense of failure and hopelessness as a sinner was not from God, but from the enemy.

There is a great sense of peace in knowing that in Christ, there is no longer any condemnation for my sin. There is only forgiveness, grace and the hope of healing.
Action Points:

1. Have you been weighed down by a feeling of condemnation? What Scriptures can you cling to this week as assurances of hope and forgiveness?

2. Test your feelings of condemnation against the truth of Romans 8:1. Memorize this verse to stand up against the lies and accusations of Satan in your life.

Come visit me...

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Blogger Denise said...

Be blessed dear one.

December 1, 2008 at 12:47 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

Oh this was an excellent post! It spoke right to me today. Thank you for sharing!

December 1, 2008 at 5:41 AM  
Blogger a woman found said...

Heather I was just thinking about you the other day, "I haven't visited the Mommy Monk for a long time!" :)

I just wrote out the other day how God really used Psalm 32 to help me understand and not feel condemned every time I read scripture. Cause I don't feel like the "righteous" I read about, but I do know that I am one of those ones who are, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered..." (Psalm 32:1). All I have to do is quickly confess what God calls sin in my life and cling to His mercy in Jesus and the condemnation flees!

Bless you for sharing this... we all are accused day and night and we need to take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ so we can enjoy His righteousness and not try to defend our own!


December 1, 2008 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

What an encouragement for today. Beautiful. Thank you.

December 1, 2008 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger karin said...

Great reminder! Thanks for sharing!

December 1, 2008 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

I like what you said about God getting specific. He wants us to see the areas He's going to work on in our lives. And He doesn't tell us we're "bad people," but rather shows us our sin and gives us His true hope for heart change. You expressed that very nicely.

As for the "Action points," I think I can best follow up by linking to a post from last October that addresses this very issue, among others.

Thanks for bringing our attention this very relevant and important subject.

December 1, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Woman on a Mission said...

Loved the action points, thank you. I wrote about something similar with a look at John 8:1-11 where Jesus is defending the adulterous woman.

Bless you.

December 1, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I used to be eat up with condemnation....and Papa God has been showing me another way. He's been showing me His heart of love. I am so grateful.... The "religious order" of things spoke so many lies to me about performance that I spent most of my walk with Him on a gerbil wheel of performance. I am grateful to know He is setting me free. I was writing some about it on my blog the other day. I am blown away by His love...

Loved your post, friend...

December 1, 2008 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee said...

This really hit the mark for me. I was struggling with the same type of condemnation about three weeks ago, spoke to a pastor friend, and he offered the same advice you give here. Thanks for the wise counsel. God bless you.

December 1, 2008 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Kathy S. said...

As usual Heather, wisdom flows from your pen (er... keys...)blessing your sisters. Haven't we all struggled with this very thing to some degree? I find I can fall back into it so easily. Especially when-I have been missing quality time w/ Jesus!

God bless you!

December 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Williams said...

Very Good! I Love when sooo much anointing is on a word! In my case AMEN! and that you Ms. Cox!


December 2, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

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