Prayer for the Week of June 11, No Condemnation
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
I have been set free by the power of Jesus Christ. I walk in freedom. I will not allow my past to govern my future. Yes, there are times I feel shame for my past deeds but then I remember the price Jesus paid to remove my sin from me.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)
In light of this knowledge I know how to deal with my past but what do I do when I’m faced with some new way in which I’ve fallen? Perhaps it’s something completely obvious like I’ve given in to temptation. Perhaps it’s something very subtle where the Lord is trying to do a simple course correction to keep me on the straight and narrow path. As I hear the message that causes me to come under conviction. It is never God’s purpose to condemn me, however God in his infinite mercy, does desire truth in my innermost being (Psalm 51:6) and he will lovingly convict me to cause me to change course.
Now, what if that poke at my innermost being comes through a family member, a dear friend, or my favorite blog. I hear the message, but instead of receiving it I get angry at the messenger. I hear condemnation. I immediately declare that message has come from a self-righteous, opinionated and dogmatic person who just thinks they are better than me. I have unwittingly locked myself into the lion’s den of condemnation. I’m gonna be eaten and depending on how I lash out, I’m gonna try and take the other person down with me.
Dear Reader, please understand.
There is a difference between a convicted heart and a condemned heart.
Conviction brings a change of course. Condemnation brings despair.
When our loving Father decides to do some housekeeping in our heart through the voice of someone else, we must learn to discern the message. The Bible says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) We would not have been given those directions if we weren’t going to be tested in this area. So in that moment of “ouch!” God wants us to feel conviction because it’s intended to bring about a broken and contrite heart. Contrite means to show or feel sorrow or remorse for a sin or shortcoming. If we feel that way, we can humbly go before the throne of grace and ask for forgiveness and help to change. This is God’s desire and His plan. When we allow the voice of the enemy to condemn us and we believe it, we become locked in darkness and despair. We allow the enemy to pronounce us guilty and we punish ourselves. This is not God’s plan.
So the next time your husband or best friend, sounds more like sand paper than honey “test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1a) Maybe your friend is having a bad day and is just being snarky. But maybe, just maybe, there is a message to you from the Lord. Will you hear it and allow it to bring conviction without condemnation?
Father, please give us grace to hear your words of conviction. Help us to willingly be broken before you so that we can “walk with you, dressed in white.” (Revelation 3:4) Help us to not strike out at the messenger. Help us to listen not only to their words, but to their heart. Help us to not become defensive in the process. And above all else, keep condemnation far from us. Amen