Conviction vs. Condemnation
In many recent sermons and classes Romans 8:1 has become a scripture of discussion. In that passage Paul says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Yes, that is in the Bible. No, most Christians don't believe the simple truth of that passage. Are you under conviction or condemnation? Or are you safe? What do you believe?
When I live my daily life I have experiences that make me question who is leading me. I wonder if it’s God’s influence or Satan’s snare. Ever feel that way? If it's God, we certainly don't want to rebuke Him but we need to be careful not to confuse the attack of the enemy with the voice of God. And I certainly don’t want to attribute the works of God to that of Satan. Is there a way to know the difference between God’s leading and Satan’s traps? I think so. How? Well, (1) notice who is speaking or working around you, (2) what is being said or done to you, and (3) the motive behind what is being said or done.
WHO: First, clarify your exact feelings. Take a moment, condense them into a few sentences and say them out loud to yourself or a friend. Does it sound like God? Does it fit His character? Is it an area of sin? Does it line up with the Bible? Would God really want this for you? Could it be part of His plan? Or could it be an evil influence?
WHAT: Second, remember that God is consistent. The Bible is clear and God’s Spirit will not lead us way from His Word. However, our own spirit will easily lead us down the path to sin and destruction. I believe that God will let us know if we are heading down the wrong path. Look for the signs. Remember God is specific, but Satan is usually more general in nature. It could be a vague feeling that everything is wrong, but you can't put your finger on anything. For example, you may get the feeling that you're a hypocrite. Why? Do you know what you need to do to change? Or is it just your mind telling you to do whatever you want because you are nothing but an inadequate sinner? Think about it. Does that sound like God or Satan? Be honest. Is that the words of a liar and deceiver or a loving Father?
WHY: Third, consider the outcome. When I discipline my children I'm specific because I'm training them. I want them to learn - to do better next time. I want them to grow into healthy maturity, not lose heart in defeat. If I spank my son I may say, “I am spanking you because you just hit your brother and I want you to know that its wrong.” I would never grab him and say, “You're getting this spanking because you'll never make it as my son. You're a wreck. You may never grow up right!”
Many times God speaks to us without opening up the sky. His discipline may hurt for a time, but His motive is always love. It may be tough love, but its still love! The surgeon carefully cuts out the cancer, but the robber slashes us in the street. One uses a knife for healing purposes, the other for destruction. Two situations, two people with knifes, and two different outcomes. The goal of God's conviction is to draw us closer to Him - our lives bearing good fruit. The devil's condemnation is designed to drive us away from the Lord into a fruitless, hopeless existence.
Satan wants us to give up but God just wants us to shape-up! Let’s be cautious to notice God’s leading and aware of Satan’s deceptive spirit. We have to be ready to fight daily with our Christian armor. Satan is after us but remember that God will never leave our side! Have a great week!!!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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