Conviction vs. Condemnation

Before I go on to the second Big Question to Experiencing Wholeness, I think It's important to understand two things when it comes to listening for God's voice when we ask: Where is God leading me to change? So, this is a bit of a Part 2 when considering the first question.

First, knowing the difference between conviction and condemnation is essential. The enemy likes to pull the wool over our eyes, making us think it's God that is condemning us. No, God never condemns (Romans 8:1), he only convicts, and there's a big difference between the two.

Conviction is always done in love, never in judgment. Conviction comes from the Father's love, to protect, to transform, to change for the better. He doesn't overload us with a long, laundry list that overwhelms us to the point that we don't even know where to begin. He gently leads us in one or two things, and then doesn't leave us to do it on our own. He comes along side of us to accomplish his purposes in our lives. His Spirit empowers and enables us to change. 

Condemnation is pointing the long, bony finger of accusation and judgment, bringing shame and disgrace to the one being charged. Condemnation stems from the evil ones plans to kill, steal, and destroy. (John 10:10) The enemy's native language is lying. How many of us walk around believing lies straight from the pit of hell? (John 8:44) Deceit is the most subtle of the enemy's tactics. You're not good enough. You're not adequate. You're stupid. These were lies I believed for years. Recognizing his lies is the first step towards freedom. Once I acknowledged the lies as lies, I could begin to renew my mind with God's truth.

He sees me as his beloved child, competent and worthy. He is proud of me and chose me to make a difference in the world where I live, work, and play.

Understanding the distinction between these two words will equip you to walk in the freedom and love of God's grace. 

Back in the day when my kids were just beginning to seriously date, I read a book, Choosing God's Best. For me (since I had already chosen God's best for me:), the big takeaway from the book was Chapter Eight: Recognizing God's Voice. In this chapter, author Dr. Don Raunikar, includes a chart entitled, God's Voice, Satan's Voice. I've shared this so many times with friends, and I'll share it with you, because sometimes it's difficult to know whose voice you are following. 


God's voice...

stills you, leads you, reassures you, enlightens you, encourages you, comforts you, calms you, and convicts you. 

Satan's voice... rushes you, pushes you, frightens you, confuses you, discourages you, worries you, obsesses you, and condemns you.


 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. –John 10:4-5

Whatever your life rhythm, you'll find the question - Where is God leading me to change? - to be pertinent to your spiritual growth. Listen for his reassuring voice of high belief, grace-filled love, and companionship. Know you are loved! 

Don't let condemnation pull you down. It's not from God. Run, run, run!!! Run away from the stranger's voice, the condemning spirit of the enemy. 

God did not mean for us to walk this life alone. Community is an important element to our spiritual formation. Next week we'll be focusing on the second of the Four Big Questions: Who can join or help me in growing spiritually? 

The Heart Cry of Discipleship

What if grace was God responding to us because he sees us whole and wants us to experience that wholeness? 

My friend posed this question to me in the middle of a conversation while we were considering what it was to have Christ formed in us. 

Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I'm going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. The apostle Paul wrote these words to the believers in Galatia. (Galatians 4:19) This is the heart cry of discipleship. 

Oh, the joy of new babes! But they don't stay babies, they grow and develop, just like new believers in Christ. 

Oh, the joy of new babes! But they don't stay babies, they grow and develop, just like new believers in Christ. 

Christ formed in me is to have Christ formed in ALL of me. 

When Jesus took his last breath, the temple curtain tore in two, opening up a whole new way to God. It was God's way of demonstrating that a high priest was no longer necessary to go behind the temple curtain to intervene on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus did that for us on the cross. It wasn't about religious rules and regulations anymore. It was about a relationship with the resurrected Jesus, given once and for all, for all mankind, for all time. 

Jesus died so we could be whole. 

We are not only spiritual beings, but emotional, physical, and intellectual beings. Discipleship includes all of this. Christ formed in us means that it effects every aspect of life. Attitude. Will. Desires. Longings. Goals. Plans. Decisions. Past. Present. Future. 

Over the next four blog posts we will be taking a look at what I call the four big questions to experiencing wholeness. 

Join me as we explore the four essential elements of discipleship. The spiritual practices are one of those elements, but discipleship is so much more.