Conviction or Condemnation?
This past year has been a really challenging one for me spiritually. I have been challenged by other Christians who were offended by me following the leading of the Lord in my own life. I have been challenged by opinions and judgments.
And in wrestling with all of these things and bringing them continually before the Lord these many months I have realized that I still have a long way to go in my walk with Christ, granted I have come a great distance but there are miles and miles to go. I have learned without doubt the difference between feeling convicted and feeling condemned. Conviction hits you in the gut, it is a deep deep sense that you have missed the mark, that you are capable of so much more, that you want to offer God something better and that by His grace, He will help you to do so. You need only to repent and begin anew.
Condemnation usually comes from the outside, it says “You’re not good enough”, “Christians don’t behave that way so you must not be one”, “You will never be able to please God”, “God did not speak that to you, you got it wrong”. Condemnation gives you the sense that you can never be worthy of partaking in God’s kingdom. It throws your past and your mistakes back up in your face over and over again.
But the Bible says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1 KJV) Let that sink in for a minute, do you believe that Jesus was the son of God and died for your sins? If yes, then you are “in Christ Jesus”. Do you chase after the things of God in your life? If yes, then you are walking after the Spirit. That means that you are not condemned, you are righteous and holy because of what Christ has done for you and in you. I pray that you find a deep sense of freedom and hope in this. I pray that you will recognize that when the Spirit of God convicts you of something, it is for the purpose of restoration, it is to draw you nearer to the heart of God. It is for the purpose of growing and maturing you. When you are feeling condemned it usually drives a wedge in your relationship with the Father, it pulls you away, it creates distance it your relationship with Christ. That is NOT of God, it is the work of the enemy.
It is important that you deal with those feelings of condemnation, take them to God in prayer, ask Him to reveal if there is any grain of truth in them and deal with that if there is. If not, ask him to show you the root of those feelings. When the source of condemnation seems to come from those around you, take care to not allow feelings of rejection and bitterness take root. Ask God to help you extend mercy and grace, to love them just as He loves you. Then stand firm in the knowledge of who you are in Christ and continue to seek Him first in all you do.
Philippians 3:13-15 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.