Conviction or Condemnation?

identity in christRomans 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.”

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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.

Surrender

fire

Today I made a sacrifice.

I spent the morning at one of my jobs working alone on a once-a-year project.  My current favorite binge food was right there next to the computer.

Yesterday at OACF there was a prophetic word spoken that chains were being broken.  I was at the altar before the Lord at the time, and I took this as a Rhema word for me.  That the chains that held me prisoner to my stomach were being broken.

Yet here I was sitting at work 24 hours later with my go-to binge food at hand.

I started Grace and Strength back on July 26, 2-1/2 month ago.  My first month in the program I lost over 20 pounds!  Then the 2nd weekend in September, I took my eyes off Jesus and settled them on the waves (recent loss of husband, home, and worldly identity) and fell in.  That resulted in an 11-pound weight gain in 2 days!

But Grace and Strength didn’t kick me out then . . .or today when I reported to my coach my struggles continue.  I thank God for April.

I also felt God telling me to take the remains of my binge home and burn them on a sacrificial fire symbolizing my complete surrender of my will with regard to food.  I felt led to pray “Father, from this point on, may I run to you the way I ran to this food today.”  I didn’t add “Replace the pleasures derived from consuming this with a pleasant sensation or other good reason to do so.”

Then just a few minutes ago I heard Francis Chan speaking about a sin with which many Christians are judgmental.  He lumped it together with all other sins as being a problem of lack of surrender.  They way he stated everything absolutely made sense.  He stated there may be something God asks us to do that we absolutely do not want to do.  If we don’t do it, it is sin.  We MUST do it.  God is God and we are not.

So God brought everything back into perspective.  My church’s tagline is “Church of a Second Chance”  Thank God the word “Second” is just a word, and his mercies are new every morning—infinite.

Why Now?

This is not my first attempt at a blog.  A couple years ago I was encouraged to create one by my publisher to promote “Fearless In Euroclydon”.  That publisher went out of business.  The website, likewise, no longer exists.

So why revisit blogging?  Why now?

While still dealing with some of the storms described in the book, more Euroclydons have hit:  the loss of my husband to death, the loss of my home to bankruptcy, and the loss of my identity.

Whoa. . . . !  Hang on a minute there.  The loss of my identity?

Let me rephrase–the loss of my identity as I knew it.

I am no longer a wife.

My children are grown, and though I’m still their mother my role in their lives is significantly reduced.

I no longer have my own home, my own space.  I now live with my mother.  While there are benefits in this arrangement to both of us, I definitely miss my alone time and take it where I can find it

So. . .

I have thrown off my earthly identity (or was it ripped from me?) and am taking on a new one.   One that has been with me for 40 years but I couldn’t recognize it through the layers of other roles I put on myself, some good, some not so much so.

My true identity is that of a daughter of the Living King.

The problem?  The old me, Jacqueline Lisa McDougall (JLM) still wants to be in control of her life both in and out of storms.  The real JLM (Jesus Loves Me) is learning how to relinquish control completely to the Lover of my soul.  Such a slow and, yes, painful process.

At this point, I don’t plan to promote this site; that may change in the future.  If you happen on it by accident and find within my ramblings something that speaks to you, come along for the ride.  And I would love to hear from you.  My email is jacquelinemcdougall@ymail.com