Perhaps you find yourself cocooned in a relentless cycle of sin, guilt and shame. While Holy Spirit serves to convict us of righteousness, Satan comes from behind with his counterfeit solution of condemnation. (NOTE: everything that Satan presents is a counterfeit to God's goodness.) What is the difference? Conviction sounds like, “Eve, your words shared in anger were hurtful. I know they hurt your feelings but allow the truth to set you free from your pain. Forgive as I have forgiven you.” OR “Eve, this resentment you are harboring is destructive, give your pain to Me and allow me to heal your heart.” OR “Eve, love, not hate, is always the better answer. Come to me and I will love through you.” Conviction is life-giving and transformational. On the other hand, condemnation sounds like, “Eve, you’re a terrible person. I can’t believe what you said!” OR “Eve, hold on to your pain. You are guilty and deserve to be punished.” OR “Why would you forgive them? They deserve your hate!” Condemnation wraps you in a cocoon of shame and blame that comes back to haunt over and over UNTIL the blood of JESUS is received and applied.
Yes, my friend, while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. An eternal life that can begin TODAY! Whether you are stuck in sin’s grip, filled with blame and hate, or covered in shame, know that the blood of Jesus has the power to set you free from the curse- so, BELIEVE and RECEIVE, my friend!
Would you like an opportunity to be set FREE from the chains of sin?
"DECLARE with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Join me in this prayer of freedom:
Father, thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son Jesus to save me through Him. Lord I admit that I have sinned and fall short of Your glory, but I thank You that through the life death and resurrection of Jesus that I am set free from the wages of sin. Thank you for paying the price that I couldn’t pay. I receive Your free gift of grace on this day and choose to follow You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name AMEN
Allow Jesus to give you the eyes to see. When we receive Jesus as Savior, He imparts to us His Spirit who draws us near, re-aligns us to God’s heart and convicts us of righteousness. Holy Spirit will show us the “better way.” He reveals that which is hidden and shines light to re-direct our path. Don’t be afraid of conviction, this is a gift given to help us navigate our blind spots. Conviction is to a believer what a stabilizer is to an Archer. Holy Spirit will help you to discern when you are falling away. For me, the red flags go up when I experience chronic fear or worry, frustration, bitterness, or anger. These are markers for me to ask Holy Spirit to show me heart issues that require a re-alignment to center. He convicts me of places where I am harboring pride, resentfulness, greed, lust, hate or even doubt in Him. These may or may not be signs of intentional sin but serve as a caution to re-focus on Jesus.
Remember the enemy’s MO to come from behind. While we are not to take our eye off of Jesus, we are to be aware of the enemy while standing in the authority God gave in Deuteronomy 28:13 to be the head and not the tail. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." What does this look like? When temptation strikes, speak truth to the lie and rebuke the enemy in Jesus’ Name. While Satan is more powerful than we, he was defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our High Priest. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” So be aware of the enemy but LIVE in the victory you have in Christ!
Finally, find trusted friends and family to stand in the gap in prayer. Hold one another accountable in grace and love. And share the good news to the world, so all will know the freedom we have in Christ!
There is one last message of love within this word that the Lord has laid on my heart. And this is directed to the “C”hurch. In my youth, sin was a common teaching. To be honest, fear from the consequences of sin is initially what led me to Christ. The Holy Spirit will use conviction to bring us to salvation. However, if we do not learn the other half of the gift of grace, the enemy is waiting in the wings to remind us that we fall short. While it is true that we all fall short of the glory of God, God, in His kindness and compassion, meets us where we are, but He doesn’t leave us there! The flip side to this is that in an attempt to be relevant and inviting, the Church can place sin in the backseat. Here is the danger, if a believer does not learn how to feed herself in God’s Word- if she doesn’t find the love of her Father through relationship and prayer- if she doesn’t understand how to set boundaries from the snare of sin, then the enemy is certain to surround and begin the work of building a stronghold. Yes, even in the life of a believer.
What to do?
God gave us His Word to both lead us to Him and lead us from sin. These two teachings compliment the other and we as the Church must do the same. We must first lead others to Jesus, but not be afraid to have the hard conversations about sin when a brother or sister is struggling.
Holy Spirit will convict a person which will lead that person to a choice. Love in friendship, leadership and discipleship will grant influence (and permission) for one believer to speak truth into the life of another believer. A biblical example of this is found in 2 Samuel 12 when God used Nathan to rebuke David after his affair with Bathsheba. David only responded because Holy Spirit convicted him and because permission was granted to Nathan to speak into David’s life. You can read a great article here about speaking truth in love. Since sin is foolishness to the rest of the world who doesn’t believe, the only influence that a believer may have in the life of an unbeliever would be given through love and example. Love enters in and softens the heart while allowing for conversations that lead to the truth of the Gospel. A biblical example of this can be found in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus was interested about this Jesus that everyone was talking about, so he climbed a tree. Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” While everyone was reeling over Jesus’ choice to be the guest of a sinner, Zacchaeus not only found love in the heart of a Savior but salvation as well. The power of Love indeed.
Eighteen-year-old me only saw punishment in the hands of the Father. Many, understandingly, reject judgement from those with good intentions as they see said judgement as condemnation. And while others may surrender, they may never truly understand the love of the Father because they have only been told half of the story. The example of an unwavering believer allows for the opportunity for love to enter in, Jesus to be introduced, truth to be shared and freedom found.
Jesus met people where they were as He showed them a better way. He shared His love, showed His heart and shined His Light while giving them a choice to walk away from sin. John 3:17 says that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. By living a life of love, we have the opportunity to lead others to Him. This is our responsibility. There is no room for condemnation in the Church. Jesus said, “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” I will be the first to say that this is a hard command to follow. But God has promised to clothe us in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. He will help us to love others and forgive as we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:12-14 paraphrased.) Consider the possibilities of a world filled with Christ followers who choose to lead with love!
Friend, I will leave you with this. Jesus had the last word when He said, “It is finished” on the Cross. Sin and death are defeated. We have victory in Him! The night before these words were spoken, John 17 shares with us a prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father, “For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Will you trust Him?