I once spoke in a church on the subject of Self-Condemnation. Before I spoke, I asked the congregation if anyone had experienced self-condemnation the preceding week. Most all raised their hand and admitted that they were in some way involved in self-condemnation. One lady even acknowledged that she was struggling with condemnation that very day.
Do you struggle with condemnation? Are you frequently beating up on yourself, thinking you are not good enough, holy enough and worthless? Have you been told or made to believe that you are not important? Do you have a sense of being useless or unimportant? When we choose to believe those false messages we set ourselves up for a sense of condemnation.
When I speak of condemnation, I am not referring to a sense of guilt or conviction because of unconfessed sin. Holy Spirit conviction is a good thing; it drives us to repentance and restoration of broken fellowship with our Father.
Condemnation is defined as “the act of giving disapproval; to judge yourself unfit for use or service.” It is a by-product of our flesh and it never comes from God.
Condemnation is one of the devil’s most effective tactics. He capitalizes on our emotional weakness and insecurity, then using little effort, he pushes us toward condemnation. Actually, we do most of the work for him – all he does is gives us a little nudge.
Condemnation is a by-product of the law of sin and death
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:1; “That there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” When someone becomes a follower of Jesus he is no longer under the sentence of condemnation. Matter of fact, in the next verse Paul even indicates that condemnation is a by-product of the law of sin and death. In other words, there is never any room for condemnation in a believer’s life or vocabulary. When the law of sin and death was conquered at the cross, it was replaced by “the law of life in Christ Jesus.” To accept and even verbalize self-condemnation is to acknowledge that Jesus’ death and resurrection has no supernatural power, and leaves us without hope of victory.
The truth is, because of the resurrection, we have received a power that trumps the power of sin and death and all its by-products, such as condemnation. Our identity is no longer tied to our performance. We are no longer a sum total of our failures but we are now an expression of the living, victorious Christ within. His life is now our life. What defines us is Christ’s life within which is characterized as holy, righteous and victorious. We are all these things regardless of how we perform or how we appear in other’s eyes. That’s because our identity is not tied to our performance or emotions but to who we are in Christ. It is important to remember;
“We are who we are by birth (spiritual birth in Christ), not by our performance.”
That’s the reason we don’t live in the past. We can’t change or fix the past, we can only live in the now, one day at a time, trusting the living Christ within us for today. If you fixate on the past, you can never provide hope for the future. The past and all its baggage becomes your life. You are bound to repeat the past over and over again.
What’s the key to dealing with condemnation? (1) Acknowledge that your thoughts of condemnation are sin. Until you acknowledge that this pattern of thinking is sin, condemnation will dominate your life. Repentance of wrong thinking is just as important as repentance of wrong deeds. (2) Stop believing the lie. Since condemnation never comes from God then its source is not trustworthy and is built on deception and lies. Condemnation is not the real you. (3) You must affirm the positive. That means practice the positive affirmation of your identity in Christ. Just as you rehearsed thoughts of condemnation, now rehearse thoughts of your identity in Christ. The power lies in verbally acknowledging the truth about who you are in Christ. Because you act out what you think, you must practice setting your mind on truth. Why is that important? It’s because the truth is what sets you free! Setting your mind on God’s truth is a supernatural action that heals the mind of constant condemning thoughts.
You now have a choice
Picture it this way. In the left hand you have condemnation and all its baggage. In the right hand you have the truth of your identity. Which will you chose to believe? The left hand that promises nothing but misery and destruction, plus new negative emotions that will soon be piled on top of what is already there?
Or will you choose the right hand which offers truth, victory and rest? This is a belief system and lifestyle that was designed and given by God himself as a gift to you. By applying the truth of your identity you can now experience the release of “trying to measure up” to unreasonable expectations and constant thoughts of condemnation.
God does not dwell in the land of condemnation. He dwells in the land of rest for the weary. The more you entertain the condemnation cycle the more it will dominate your life. Instead, enter the “rest cycle”. There is a rest for the people of God and we enter that rest when we make a decision with our will to lay all our anxiety, all our condemnation, and all of our fear at the foot of the Cross. Those things you bring to the cross are put to death. After you bring it to the cross then choose to believe what He says about you. You see – it’s really about allowing the living Christ in you to be basis of your identity.(Colossians 2:10)
That reminds me of the lyrics from a song sung by Christian artist Larnelle Harris;
“It’s not in trying but in trusting
It’s not in running but in resting,
Not in wondering but in praying,
That we find the strength of the Lord.
Because of Christ,