Something I used to struggle with a lot and still struggle a bit with now and again, is allowing my missteps, failures or sin to weigh me down in a way that feels like there’s a wall between me and God.
What we must be understand is that there is difference between condemnation and conviction and what that difference is. Here is the best explanation I’ve come across for this, by Priscilla Shirer.
“Condemnation is the work of the enemy. It means to consider something worthy of punishment. Convictions is the work of the Holy Spirit. It means to bring something to light in order to correct it.”
Can you see why this would be important to understand and trust? Wether you want to believe it or not, there is an enemy out there fighting for our souls. His biggest weapon is to heap guilt and shame on us in hopes that we would turn and hide from God and hide from family and friends. In doing so, Satan has you separated and can speak all kinds of lies to keep you stuck in that pit of shame and despair and lull you into his web of destruction. Just as a Lion lies and waits for one animal to wander from the flock or herd or fall behind because they are injured, this way he can pounce and devour more easily. So it is with Satans pursuit of us. “Be alert and of sober mind. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
However, the goal of God’s very own Spirit within us, His Holy Spirit, is to stir our spirits in a way that makes us very aware that we are on the wrong path....we are headed for danger and we are not being who Christ calls us to be. He brings conviction not condemnation. It’s though He’s saying “Be careful my child, the road you’re heading down leads to some ugly stuff. You don’t want to go down that road. Please turn around and come back to me.” His conviction is meant to draw you closer to Him and away from the nasty pit sin will throw you in. He does this because He loves you and sympathizes with the weaknesses of those who long to live a life that pleases Him.
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:15-16
“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:2
God’s will for us is to shine with His light so by living a pure life we will lead others to Him. We will represent His nature properly to others. If we spent more time living as Christ and less time condemning others of sin, then by just simply living our daily lives would lead many to Christ. “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Galatians 6:1 and “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
When we say we are a Christian, people begin watching you to find out who God really is. Are you representing the character of Christ to a watching world or are you more resembling the great accuser and enemy?