Romans 8:1 “There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
A couple of years ago, I felt inspired to memorize Romans 8. There is so much good stuff in that one somewhat lengthy (38 verses) chapter. I am about halfway through this process. While learning, of course, I’ve recited verse 1 over and over again. It became quite clear to me this morning why.
Recently I allowed the enemy to place a spirit of condemnation on me. It was so heavy, nearly incapacitating. It began with an innocent comment of correction made by another Christian. Although a dozen other people were present and heard the comment, I felt, probably correctly, I was the primary intended recipient.
At first, I took it as a conviction from God, and I told her so and thanked her. Of course, part of me was hoping for a statement along the lines of “That wasn’t spoken for you” or even “it was just a general recommendation” which, of course, could have still meant the admonition was for me. She didn’t say either of those things.
But as I stewed over it and stewed over it, I realized that the words spoken in innocence had brought a deep sense of condemnation over my soul.
No sooner had I realized this than God reminded me of what he said in Romans 8:1. Then he told me he was pleased with me, that I was doing everything he required. Right now that reminds me of a time in the hospital fighting cancer where a nurse encouraged me that, although I was still throwing up nearly everything I ate, was not very ambulatory, and was recovering from colon surgery at a painstakingly slow pace, I was doing everything they required of me; that was enough. It didn’t mean that I was to stop trying to get better; it did mean that I wasn’t a “bad” or “flawed” person.
God doesn’t give us all the same life journeys. Mine has taken me down wrong roads of my own choosing and those chosen by others. Because of this, there is much to overcome in my journey to learn to love the way Jesus does. Chiefly is to learn to love myself the way Jesus does. After all, the Bible tells us in Matthew 22:39 “And the second (greatest commandment) is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If one doesn’t love herself the way God does—and how can she with a giant weight of condemnation pressing upon her soul—it would be unwise to love others in like manner. We must get a grasp of the true love of God for us.
The Bible study The Forgotten Way by Christian writer Ted Dekker, is a great means to this end.
It goes without saying that spending much time in the living Word of God is even better.
I am not condemned.
Neither are you, dear reader, if you are in Christ Jesus (as a believer). We are loved with a love that we cannot begin to understand.
Father, help me to understand to the ability of my finite mind how to fully experience and then express your love. Help me assimilate and then act with the perfection of my spirit, which is already complete in You, how to experience and express your love.
Forgive my unbelief, increase my faith, and increase my love. I love You, my Rock and my Redeemer.