“Man, if I walked into a church right now either I would catch on fire or the church would burn down.”
“God doesn’t want me. He knows what I have done and he knows I am not getting any better.”
“Oh I will fit in great in hell! Besides that is where all my friends will be. Nobody wants us up there anyways.”
I have heard these comments and more. To be honest my heart breaks when I hear this. But what is interesting is even though I am a Christian and I believe in God’s grace and power, I still get the same condemning feeling that I am not good enough for God to love me. It is a pretty powerful emotion if you have never experienced it.
For me it generally begins when I have a passing memory of my past. Whether it was the drug addiction, alcohol addiction, lustful behavior, or habits of hiding and lying about the strongholds in my life, Satan knows exactly what to whisper in my ear to lead me into condemnation. Before I was a Christian I never felt guilty or convicted for doing any of the above behaviors, unless it hurt someone else. After I became a Christian I was convicted of sin before I really even understood it. It was quite the transformation. However, I was so dug in by the sin I had in my life, even when I repented of those sins, sometimes years or decades later, I still felt like they were right behind me. I felt like I was only an hour from having committed the sin, rather than years removed from it. My flesh would rehash what I had done as if I was doing it. But I wasn’t. I was not sinning. I was not separating myself from God through my actions. I was detached in my mind. I had heard the voice of the enemy who was trying to distract me from my Father. In these moments a fight ensues to convince me that I am too bad to be loved by God.
Then the Holy Spirit rises up in me. It is almost as if He says, “Danny you are weak right now. Let me strengthen you. Let me remind you of who I AM. Remember there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This repeats over and over in my head, my heart, and my spirit. I hear it as a small whisper, and as I strain to listen through all of the distortion that attacks me the voice of the Holy Spirit becomes clearer and clearer. Romans 8:1 becomes more lucid in my inner being, “A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”
The enemy punches back, “Come on Danny, if people knew the truth about you they would never want to talk to you again.”
Gently and peacefully the Holy Spirit reminds me, “I love you. You should see you how I see you.”
The enemy at this point realizes I am hearing him less and less. “Do you remember that one time you… and the other time you…” Counting the sins I have committed in the past, the demon feels like he is making headway in my mind. And then he utters this unbelievably believable assertion, “God is so mad at you. Think of how disappointed He was when you did those things. He is disappointed by you every day because you sin every day.”
At this point the persistent and fiendish evil spirit sits back and crosses his arms to enjoy his perceived successful attempts of coercion on my spirit. And then I drop the bombshell. I begin praying.
“God I know I have messed up in my past, but that is exactly what it is, my past. I trust in Your word. I trust that these feelings are not feelings of conviction, but of condemnation and guilt. I will believe that Your word is true and the promise of forgiveness expressed in Your word is granted when my heart lines up with the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You don’t want to guilt me into following You. You want me to joyfully and peacefully love You. In the name of Jesus Christ and by His blood I rebuke any spirit of condemnation that is trying to sidetrack my path and lead me to self-destruction. I push aside the attempts of the enemy to compel me to believe You are disappointed in me. I will believe that even before You died on the cross You knew I would commit the sins that I did before You saved me. And yet You still saved me. I have repented. I have turned away from that old self. That person is no longer who I am. I am far removed from that person. Continue to work in me breaking new strongholds in my life. Continue to transform me by the renewing of my mind. I ask all of these things in Jesus name. Amen.”
I stop listening to the diabolical and falsified counsel. I begin to gaze through the eyes of God and discover that He loves me. He always loves me. He loves me so much more than I can comprehend.
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