Condemnation vs. Conviction
Yesterday I had an all day sinning fest. I binged big. I didn’t stop eating, didn’t stop satisfying my flesh all day long. I’m lucky that I wrote the weekend devotional on Saturday, because my Sunday was not right with the Lord.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
So here I am on Monday, confessing to you, and I hope you’ll pray for me.
My Sunday yesterday is just further evidence that church attendance alone cannot help you overcome your sin. I left Church yesterday and almost immediately hopped into my car and ran to Panera for a healthy meal while I used their Wi-Fi. Then an hour and a half later on my way home, I stopped at KFC. Then a few hours later, I ordered some beef brisket from the BBQ place across the street.
I felt conviction before I ate these things. The Holy Spirit convicted me and the still small voice inside me told me not to do it, but pray instead. But I shoved that helping hand aside and did what I wanted to do. I sinned. And when my belly was overflowingly full, I regretted it.
Then my personal demon came laughing and condemning me. He told me that I should give up. He declared that I was stupid for ever starting this blog for accountability. He told me that I was a hypocrite and a liar, and everything I’d written was a lie. He said: come weigh-in Wednesday I’m going to have to lie about my weight.
He said to me that God was disappointed with me, and didn’t want to hear from me. He told me that I’d driven a wedge (my big fat belly) between us, and God would never want a relationship with a person who would push Him away like that. So this depressed me last night, and I went to bed not knowing what I would do to repair what I started to believe was irreparable.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
God is so unbelievably awesome. This morning, I prayed but just like that demon had said: I felt like my prayers weren’t reaching God. While I was out cleaning horse’s stalls, I listened to good preaching – Joyce Meyer – and she had a word of the Lord for me: “I am in right standing with God.”
That’s all she said. And suddenly I realized that it was true. I did not drive a wedge between us. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am in right standing with God. He doesn’t reject me. Nothing that I can do will drive Him away from me.
While I was doing one of my Bible Studies this morning “Flowers over the Wall,” Kelli Grim pointed out a scripture that also backed this up:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
By believing in Jesus, and accepting His sacrifice, I have already overcome the world. Jesus has already put me in right standing with God, and nothing that I do in this life will separate me from Him. Does this mean that I should just go right on binging? Of course not!
Conviction is what God uses to keep us from sin. Conviction is the gentle reminder that the action and choice we are about to make is going to make us feel separated from Him. That’s what sin is – it’s a temporary separation from God that we choose to make. Sin does harm us and the relationship that we have with God, but God has promised the relationship can be restored. If I ignore the conviction that God places on my heart, then I give Satan the right to come in and condemn me.
Condemnation is what Satan does to us to make us feel like we can’t return to God and ask for forgiveness. Condemnation is what Satan uses to try to keep us from repentance. Condemnation drives us further from God, and tries to make the separation that we have chosen when we sinned, permanent.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
When we walk according to the Spirit, we will not have condemnation, because Satan cannot condemn us. But if we try to walk in the flesh (in sin) then Satan has the right to condemn us. So this is why we don’t want to allow sin in our lives. This is why it is so important to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and walk in the spirit so that we don’t fulfill the desires of the Flesh.
Today I am renewed. God has reminded me that nothing can separate me from His love, and I am taking hold of that. I believe that though Satan had wanted to use this choice to sin for my harm, but God has used it for my good. I have a greater understanding today of what it means to be condemned and how to avoid it. And though I still wish I’d never sinned, I am thankful that God has taught me a new thing.