And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
—1 John 3:19-21
Many Christians struggle with feelings of condemnation. Condemnation is not conviction. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Conviction by the Holy Spirit trains us in the righteousness that Christ has given us (John 16:8). It builds our faith with God’s grace and truth and gives us confidence in Him. Condemnation brings feelings of shame and doubt and fear and rejection. It is a tool of the enemy to destroy any confidence we have that God loves us.
When our hearts condemn us—when our flesh reminds us of the old person we once were before Jesus brought us new life, we need to know and believe that our new life in Christ is greater than what we feel. When we keep choosing to believe God’s truth over the lies of the enemy, we build confidence in God’s love for us. And we don’t feel condemned when we have confidence in His love. When we continually reassure our hearts of God’s love, we can walk by faith in the confidence that is ours in Christ.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).
Those who walk in the spirit instead of in the flesh have confidence in who they are in Christ. They don’t live by what they feel. They live what they believe. The way to overcome feelings of condemnation is to encourage your heart with God’s truth and deny your feelings. But if you don’t renew your mind with God’s truth (Romans 12:2), your heart will condemn you, and at times you may even doubt your right standing—your salvation—with God.
And what does God’s truth say about your right standing with God—the salvation that Christ has given you?
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
Your right standing with God—your salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. It is His guarantee. This is not what your flesh says is true. This is what is true in your born-again spirit. This is why it is so imperative for the Word to renew your mind with God’s truth—so you believe the truth of the new person Christ has made you instead of the lies of the enemy that bring condemnation.
When we plant the incorruptible seed of God’s truth in our hearts (1Peter 1:23)—when we encourage our faith with His Word, we come to know and believe who we are in Christ. We know that even though the flesh tries to condemn us we can trust in the finished work of Christ for our salvation.
Do you see why the renewing of your mind with the Word of God is crucial to believe God—and to walk by faith and not by sight (1 Corinthians 5:7)? For God’s truth to be real in your life, you choose to deny the feelings that bring shame and doubt and fear and rejection. You choose not to be offended. You choose faith over fear. To walk according to the His Spirit and not by what you feel, you have to know God’s Word and believe it in your heart.
Knowing and believing the truth of who you are in Christ gives you confidence in your relationship with God. God has judged you righteous because of Jesus. When you exercise the truth of that relationship, you walk by faith and not by what you feel. According to the degree you believe in what Christ says is true for you, you receive (Matthew 9:29).
© 2022 Lynn Lacher