Monday, April 03, 2017

Condemnation vs. Conviction

       The day I finish this Bible study will be a very sad day for me. I'm not sure that I have ever been as impacted by a Bible study as I have been by this one. I've never had this great desire to deepen my walk with the Lord as I have in the last few weeks. Thankful that the Lord took a hold of my heart the way He did and opened by ears to hear Him calling to me.
       I'm wondering if I can even put into words what I've come away with from today's lesson. This week's section is about the character of God and today's lesson was entitled "Loving." As a child I was told over and over again that God is love. He does not just love. He is love. I've heard and memorized 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 many times I'm sure. Sometimes when you hear a verse so much you become dull to it's meaning. In this passage God gives us a list of what love is and what it isn't. And since God is love it is what He is and isn't. 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentfulit does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all thingsendures all thingsLove never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

       I've highlighted in red what love is and in green what love isn't. I've always thought of these verses and telling me how I should or shouldn't act. And while that is true it is also a reminder of what is truly of God. God is never cause us to feel any of those green highlighted words. He will always move us towards the red words. 
This is all a good point, but it isn't totally what the lesson was about, so let me get back on track. 
       The lesson was really focusing on guilt. Pricilla talked about for a time she really struggled with guilty over poor choices she made in college. While I don't feel like I've made any major, life altering poor choices in my life I have things that I struggle with feeling guilty over. Things that if I tried to explain them to you they would sounds silly and unimportant, but in my head I still feel guilty over them. Things that could go from elementary school all the way to a week ago. I try letting go of them because I know the Lord has forgiven me, but still every once in a while they come back to mind. And at the most random times too. "His {God's} goal is never to bring guilt and condemnation by continually reminding me of my past sins but rather bring healing and obedience by turning my attention to my future with Him."
"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new." Is. 43:18-19
       How often do I dwell on the past when I can be thinking on my future with Christ? Far too often! God isn't looking down on me bringing my sins to mind to condemn me. That is the work of the Enemy. "You will know condemnation because it brings guilt and offer no clear means of relief. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit brings conviction that always provides a road map out and away from a specific sin. His aim is always to lovingly steer us in the direction of His grace." He gives grace and love despite what we have done because to the very core He is love. Isn't that so amazing?! 
"The purpose of the voice of condemnation is to push you away from His presence -- that which is the very source of your victory. The purpose of the voice of conviction is to press you into the face of Christ." -- Bob Sorge
       This last quote really resounded with me tonight. As those thoughts of guilt creep into my mind I need to be aware and think "Is this drawing me closer to Christ? Or is this guilt pushing me away from Him?" Listen to God's voice, it will bring conviction and encouragement...not condemnation and guilt.  

Aahhhh! My brain is so on overload right now! But in a good way. :)  

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