For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. — 2 Corinthians 7:10
I want to write a little on something that has been heavy on my heart for some time, and it’s something that I think all believers deal with at one point or another – and that is self-condemnation.
When we start seeking the Lord in Truth, the Holy Spirit will make our sins known to us, and it can be very painful. Even if we want to live in a righteous world and start to find ourselves coming out from under wordly perspectives or actions, sin still clings to us, and we hate it – and we start to condemn ourselves.
We start to worry that we are too far gone, or that God could not love us or that His promises are not for us. We start to obsess over our sins. We fight with ourselves, we try to stop, but we cannot. And sometimes, the struggle actually gets harder, causing us to fall into those sins even more than we did before. Then we really get discouraged. What is wrong with us? Why does it seem like we just cannot stop sinning, and not only that, we are dealing with even more temptation than we did before we starting seeking the Lord? Is He mad at me? Does He hear me at all? Will I be saved or will I be lost forever?
This is completely normal, and I think, even an essential part of our Christian walk.
For one, know that we are at war. As to-be joint hears with Christ, we can expect to be battled against on every front – especially spiritually. Do not be surprised if your sins become stronger, or if it seems that Satan is really kicking you in the backside over and over again. Satan will never stop fighting you. The biggest trouble with that, I’ve found, is it leads to a lot of self-condemnation and lack of faith – and the obsession over our sin takes our eyes of the Lord. Instead of looking to Him, we start fighting the sin. Instead of fighting the sin, go to Jesus. He wants to free you, and He will if you are seriously repentant.
What are fruits for repentance?
We fight sin and lose, over and over – until, by the grace of God, something wonderful happens. The sin gets so heavy, that it brings us to our knees in true repentance.
I think that a truly repentant heart is one that hates the sin it is bound to, and desperately wants to be freed at all costs. Though painful, take comfort in this, knowing it is a beautiful thing and actually a gift. Many walk around with seared consciences, unable to know they are wrong, much less able to repent. They are dead inside, and they will die in their sins. Mourning over your sinful state and that of the world is a good thing – but, self-condemnation is not.
Self-condemnation is not of God. He is not the one putting those self-defeating thoughts into your heart. He wants to comfort you, encourage you, and lift you up so you can bring forth good fruit. But, He is also in control, and I believe He allows the devil to put us through these hard times as part of our growing. It is essential, but at the same time, learning how to deal with it is also part of our walk – our training up as adopted sons of God.
So, how do we deal with it? I think that is something the Lord has to work out in each individual, though I do know that keeping our eyes of Jesus at all times is fundamentally important. We each have to go through our own growing pains that bring real repentance. I don’t want to discourage that at all, I just want to show the difference between hating your sin and hating yourself. You are more than those chains that bind you.
Trust in Jesus. He will not forsake you.
Without Jesus, we are all condemned. Just as those who are not His are condemned already, those who are His are exalted already – though we don’t see it yet. We are told that all things are put under His feet, though we do not yet see all things put under His feet. From the perspective of a time-limitless God, we have been made perfect already – and our faith in Him does count us as righteous in His sight before we are made holy in His image.
If you are a lover of the truth; if you want to live in a world of righteousness that is aligned with the teachings of Jesus, then take comfort in that. He will not leave you. Each day that you keep going is a win, even when your faith is so thin you feel it might break. We are not chosen by God because we are good. We are made good because we are chosen. It is our birthright – and He will complete His work in us. Don’t give up.