It amazes me how I can go from praising the Lord while singing along with Christian music in my car to yelling at the person who cut me off—almost simultaneously. But sometimes I react and then regret.
The second half of the scenario plays out like this: the driver who angered me speeds by, oblivious to my plight. The music begins to fade into the background and finally disappear. Now I’m left with an onslaught of negative, harassing thoughts like, what kind of Christian are you? You’re such a phony! A loser. “Real” Christians don’t have short fuses like you! When are going to get better with this issue?
A lot of believers hear condemning thoughts, and some even think it’s God. My friends, that is a LIE!
God will NEVER tell us what “sorry losers” we are.
I can prove it, too. Look at what Jesus had to say:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ” (John 3:17)
As Christ followers, we must be able to discern what we are hearing in our minds: conviction from the Holy Spirit or condemnation from an unholy spirit.
Listen, this is super important, because many of us waste valuable time wallowing in condemning thoughts that center around self. This is a major tactic of the enemy to keep us focused inward, rather than upward on God and outward on our mission to a lost world in need of hope. We cannot offer hope to anyone if we have lost hope ourselves.
Condemnation renders us out of commission to accomplish the Great Commission.
WHAT IS CONDEMNATION?
1: CENSURE, BLAME 2: the act of judicially condemning.
Condemnation comes from Satan. It is an attack designed to accuse and tear you down. Revelation 12:10 refers to Satan as the accuser of the brothers and sisters.
Condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you’ve messed up. But the biggy is this:
Condemnation shows you the problem without offering a solution.
The Bible tells us “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
WHAT IS CONVICTION?
The Bible refers to conviction as godly sorrow. We will feel grieved in our spirit, but the grief leads us to the Father.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
Condemnation says, “You’re such a failure!” Conviction says, “Come to me and I will forgive you.”
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18
The Holy Spirit will convict us when we sin. And that is a good thing because sin is a problem. Sin separates us from our holy God. Conviction feels a bit like an uncomfortable separation. A godly sense of sorrow. Along with godly sorrow comes the hope of forgiveness, an opportunity for teaching and correction.
Satan will condemn and bring guilt, showing us the problem. God lovingly convicts, showing us the solution that leads to repentance. I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this…a lot. My prayer is this article served as a reminder of God’s wonderful nature to convict, forgive, and correct.
Shows only the problem
Points to the Father
Shows the answer
When we mess up (and we will) and the negative thoughts begin (and they will too), we must train ourselves to STOP and ask, is this teaching me and pointing toward forgiveness? Or, is this accusing and showing me only the problem?