Matt Adams shares a relatable story and explains how we exit the cycle of self-condemnation.
I failed big time yesterday. An open door let anger in and before I knew it I found myself yelling at the top of my lungs at one of the people who loves me most in this world. The circumstances don’t matter; the hurt, the disappointment, the lasting pain – these are the things that matter, these are the things that have to be healed. I had to ask forgiveness, and will more than likely do so again, from the person I hurt and from God whose commandment lay broken at my feet. I have to trust that he will bring healing to that relationship and that he will continue to sanctify me, to find places where the Fruits of the Spirit will take root.
But as so often happens immediately following a monumental failure, the enemy used the door that I left open to weasel his way in.
“How could you? You call yourself a follower of Christ?”
“You’re not redeemed. You don’t belong to Him. How could you?”
“Your life, your faith, it’s just for show. The love of God is not in you. How could you?”
Round and round and round the carousel of condemnation went. The same feeling brought about by a host of different words. And if I’m being honest, it’s still playing this morning. I’m spending a lot of time reminding myself that Prov. 24:16 says “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity”. I keep looking to 2 Cor. 12:9 where Paul writes “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I’m hanging on with vice-grips to Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
It’s not helping yet…but it will. So why am I saying all this? Why even go into something that was essentially a private matter? Because I need to get it out and because I want you guys to know two things. First, don’t ever fix your eyes on someone, on what they post, what they say, or what they do, and think that they somehow have it all together, especially not if that someone is me. I fail my Savior daily in innumerable ways, and my only option, everyone’s only option is to rest heavily on His mercy and grace.
Second, and I really want you to hear me on this one, the enemy is a coward. He won’t attack when we are strong, when we are armored up and rooted firmly. He waits for a weakness, a gap in the armor, and then he slithers in and strikes with one of the greatest weapons in His aresenal: condemnation. When it happens, and it will, take these with you to battle:
“There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phi. 1:6).
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (Eph. 1:7).
Armor up! Press on! Fight the good fight!
Till next time, book open; eyes on Him.