When Our Greatest Enemy Is Self-Condemnation

Broken Manicals
No Condemnation In Christ Jesus

Who is your greatest enemy? Is there someone or something in your life or heart that seeks “to injure, overthrow, or confound” you? That beats your heart and mind to a pulp and tosses you onto the “I am worthless” junk pile?

Do you feel degraded, humiliated, and condemned?  Take a deep breath and listen to God’s healing balm: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8). There is NO condemnation! When? Now. Why? Because Christ Jesus has already paid the price for all sins. Sins within us. Sins made against us. If we accept His freely-given love offering, there is NO condemnation. No matter how hotly any enemies rage against us and want to bring us down. They can never win, because Jesus already won eternal victory.

I used to think Satan, the father of all lies, is my worst enemy. And truly he is a powerful one. And oh, so dreadfully deceitful. He has no qualms about putting on the mask of a lamb if it will serve to raise himself and make us think less of Jesus. But I’m learning that sometimes my greatest enemy is my own self-condemnation. Sure, Satan has a hand in it and gets a thrill out of exploiting my vulnerable spots. But I can’t always blame him. I have the choice to choose, but I don’t always realize how often I choose against myself. Personalizing the questions towards the end of Romans 8, my default thought patterns answer:

If God is for (me), who can be against (me)?
I am.

Who will bring any charge against (you) whom God has chosen?
I do.

Who then is the one who condemns (you)?
I am.

Who shall separate (you) from the love of Christ?
I do.

This realization has deepened since I read God’s Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman. Holley Gerth writes a profound TRUTH:

“God has defeated our enemies, given us the victory, and made us more than conquerors. But because of free will, we can choose to be against ourselves. When we do so, we fight on the enemy’s side – whether we realize it or not.”

We can be our worst critics sometimes, not even realizing we’re fighting on the enemy’s side. God’s side is to be gentle with ourselves:

“When you wound yourself with words, it’s the same to God as if you were doing it to someone else in your life. Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means all of the “one another” statements in Scripture (i.e., be kind to one another, encourage one another) apply in our relationship with ourselves too.” (You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You also by Holley Gerth)

Do you wound yourself with words? Are you kind to others but not to yourself?

Easier said than done though, right? When past negative voices and actions have hacked into our thought patterns, it takes so much effort to get up and running again. Jesus is the only and all-inclusive Viral Sweep to clean up and free our negative mindset. It’s all free grace, but He has given us a free will. He wants us to plug into His cleansing power.

One way is to replace the lies with TRUTH. To keep reminding ourselves over and over and over again that there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. To let Jesus’ answer to the questions sink and take deep root in our hearts:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

To let this TRUTH uproot all those self-condemning weeds that have overgrown and taken over our minds. To let this TRUTH find permanent soil in our hearts. TRUTH with ever-growing roots downward, stronger and stronger so the negative thoughts have no place to go but out.

Our “I am worthless” needs to be resurrected from that junk pile with an “I am valuable in Jesus.” Through Him we can conquer all enemies, including our “against me” thoughts.

A Child's Trust

Renee Swope’s Free Printouts

Are My Thoughts “For Me” or “Against Me”?

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Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Plugging Into Jesus, the Source of Power

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Wishing You Hope, Healing,
and Freedom in 2014!

What improvements are you determined to work at this year? As 2014 approaches, many of us want to wipe our 2013 slates clean and begin anew. There’s something about a “New Year” that gives us new hope and energizes us to do better.

As I reflect on 2014 resolutions, not only do I want to continue to strive to live in An Audience of One, but I want to purposefully plug into Jesus, the source of power. Too often I strive to “do” instead of to “be” in Jesus. I recently read a story of a lightbulb who had to find a way to shine:

The lightbulb went to a conference to learn about its inner capacity for light. It read books about how to brighten someone’s day. Each morning the lightbulb would get up and recite positive affirmations. “I am a lightbulb. I believe in myself. I will shine!” But nothing happened. Eventually the lightbulb became weary and discouraged. It began to doubt who it was and what it could do. It almost burned out completely. Fortunately, one day the lightbulb was carefully place in a fixture. Light burst forth from it and filled the room. The lightbulb finally understood that the key was not to try harder, but to plug into the source. (God’s Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman, p. 98, by Holley Gerth)

If we keep working at making ourselves shine for others, we’ll keep getting weary and discouraged. But if we plug into Him Who is the source of power, we will automatically shine for Him.

If we keep trying to fill the empty spaces in our hearts ourselves, our hearts will be like leaky sieves. But if we open our hearts to Jesus’ love, we will be fulfilled and satisfied.

If we keep trying to fix or make sense of the tangled threads of our lives, we will only tie ourselves up in knots and become disoriented. But if we align our compass towards Christ, someday we will see how every tangled thread served a greater purpose, pointed us towards a better direction, and produced an exquisite design.

Plug into Jesus, fill up with Jesus, and align our compass towards Jesus. Then with renewed hope, we will be able to start with a clean slate and all other perplexities in life will become more clear.

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

A Child's Trust

Impressions from Devil’s Tower

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Seven Indian girls ran as fast as their little legs could carry them. Panting. Screaming. A grizzly bear hot on their heels gaining ground. In desperation the children climbed a three-foot rock and cried, “Rock, take pity on us; Rock, save us.” And the rock grew upward. The bear clawed and clawed, but he couldn’t reach them.

An inspiring Native American legend of how Devil’s Tower originated but with a different name in Lakota: Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Tower.” This story evoked such awe in me as I gazed up at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Ok, so maybe geology tells a different story, but the legend bursts with meaning.

Impressions of Awe from Devil’s Tower:

  1. God is Almighty, and His power knows no bounds. God always has had and still does have the power to push a rock upward, because He is the only One Who could create it in the first place. All things are possible through Him, and He can go through infinite lengths beyond our understanding to protect us from enemies.
  2. God protects us from the devil who always stands ready to devour us. When the devil is hot on our heels, clawing his way to our destruction, God provides His Rock, Christ Jesus. The devil can’t reach us there. Jesus is a safe refuge. The devil may roar in our ears, but Jesus will never let him destroy us.
  3. The devil may tempt us, but He must flee at the name of Jesus. Devil’s Tower reminded me of when the devil was allowed to tempt Jesus, and he took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him the splendor of all kingdoms. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said, “Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” No matter how much the devil tempts, taunts, and torments us, Jesus has already won the battle against him. One word – “Jesus!” – sends him yelping away.

 On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand!