“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
Romans 8:1 (NIV)
I’ve spoken about this topic before, but I think it’s important enough to talk about more than once. I lived most of my life feeling condemned. I’m not sure why and I still have those tendencies that I’m working on. For instance, if I’m in the room with someone who has done something wrong, I take on the guilt despite being completely innocent. So, for a personality like that, to grasp the difference between conviction and condemnation was quite difficult.
However, the deeper my relationship with God gets, the easier time I have distinguishing between the two. Condemnation is hard, fast, doesn’t give you time to think and makes you feel badly about yourself. Things appear hopeless when condemnation steps into the room.
Conviction, on the other hand, feels peaceful. Peaceful you ask? Yup – peaceful. There is no guilt or shame associated with it. You know you messed up, you know you need to change, but when God is part of the picture as He is with conviction, it feels different. It’s a gentle correction, almost like an invitation to step onto the right path and make right what you have done wrong. No judgments, no harsh words spoken, but still the expectation of obedience.
People tried to explain this to me for years but until I actually started to experience it for myself, I couldn’t fully grasp what they were describing. Now that I have, I don’t want to go back. Now that I have felt conviction, it’s easier to recognize condemnation and I want no part in that experience.
In addition to the differences between conviction and condemnation, God’s voice and satan’s voice are extreme opposites as well. When God speaks, there is usually a peace that follows. He doesn’t usually ask me to quickly decide things but gives me time to line up what He is asking of me with His Word.
If satan is speaking, it’s usually a “quick, hurry up and decide” and my blood pressure raises, my “fight or flight” mode kicks in and I feel irritated, anxious, nervous and just out of sorts. When God speaks, I might be convicted in what He wants me to do, but except for the internal wrestling I might experience with fighting to do it my way instead of God’s way, there is an underlying peace once I surrender to His will. If I “surrender” to satan, I don’t feel peace. I feel more condemnation.
I’m so glad that God has allowed me to feel the sweet peace of conviction versus condemnation for myself. I pray that you all are able to experience it for yourselves as well. While any type of correction isn’t necessarily pleasant, conviction versus condemnation is so much gentler.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016