Have you ever stolen a candy bar? Have you ever sinned by doing something you weren’t proud of, and struggled afterwards with guilt, anxiety, shame, fear, and self-condemnation? Even Christians, who know they are forgiven in Christ, will struggle with negative emotions, when they’ve sinned. That’s because the enemy is hell-bent on destroying us.
Condemnation comes from the devil. This voice is nagging and annoying, and you’ll try to run away from it. This voice screams, and beats you down, while trying to break your spirit. This voice says things like: “ What a loser…you stole a candy bar…you really did it this time…what a good-for-nothing worthless thief you are…why can’t you be more like your brother…you’re such an idiot…you should feel guilty…you’ll never amount to anything!”
Conviction comes from The Lord, God. This voice has great power and authority, and you won’t want to ignore it. This voice gently restores, and builds you up, while encouraging you to be more like Jesus. This voice says words like: “You have broken one of my ten commandments by stealing a candy bar…you’re my child, and stealing hurts others and yourself…you need to pay for the candy bar…ask the store owner for forgiveness…he will see Jesus in you…I can use you, even in this situation, to bring others to Jesus…I’m not giving up on you…I forgive you…I love you.”
What a vast difference! Scripture says that through Christ Jesus, we are forgiven for ALL of our sins: past, present, and future. However, this isn’t a license to sin, or to steal candy bars! When we repent, God’s forgiveness reminds us that He is a loving God. It gives us an opportunity to grow closer to Him, while building upon our relationship with Jesus Christ.
We can make things right on the surface, sometimes, by going back to the store, and paying for the candy bar. But that’s not always possible or necessary, and in some cases, it’s not even wise. If you renounce the devil’s condemnation, in the name of Jesus, you can focus on God’s conviction, and on what He wants you to do about the situation. In doing so, God can help set you free from sin and bondage. Learning how to forgive yourself and others, leads to freedom and victory through Jesus Christ!
We also have authority, in Christ, to renounce those very same lies that insist on trying to hover around, even after we’ve confessed, and received forgiveness. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 New International Version).
“ ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’ ” (Isa. 1:18 New Living Translation). Forgiveness makes the devil cringe. He will try to lie to you, so hold fast to the truth of scripture: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Now, that, brothers and sisters in Christ, is freedom!
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”