For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing...
Romans 7:15, 18-19
As I read that passage, I enter into that wrestle between what my flesh desires vs. what the Holy Spirit presses me to do- what I know is wrong vs. what I know is obedient. It's a very hard and very real wrestle, one that only believers truly understand because the good vs. evil battle in the spiritual realm is exponentially magnified for those who confess and believe in Christ Jesus.
I was in my kitchen earlier today, leaning over the counter and just overwhelmed with the urge to slap or kick myself for the foolishness of sin that I keep seeking after. It's so easy and so comfortable for me to slip into patterns of idolatry and manipulation, as I try to control the outcome of my life in the way that I want it. I cry before the Lord, day in and day out, that where I am in life isn't exactly where I want to be. I cry the words, "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!"
I sat in that condemnation and that frustration for a while. We've all been there. Those moments of panic; "Lord, will it always be like this?" Or the times of discouragement; "God- I've followed you for 21 years; why is the struggle still so prevalent?" The enemy loves these moments because he sees it as weakening the bride of Christ. I love that the Lord always has an answer of truth for the lies I believe.
As I was sitting in that shame, the Lord gently and lovingly spoke the words of 1 John 3 over me.
Whenever our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.
1 John 3:20-21
I have felt the condemnation of my heart left and right as of late- in the mysterious realm of love and romance, I feel like a complete and utter failure. In the area of courage and strength of heart, the daily dose of tears goes to remind me that those are character traits I haven't mastered. In the hidden parts of my heart, the battle with pride and idolatry is real, and I often feel so discouraged that I will never be who I want to be. As I read what it means to love the Lord, I come to the realization that I don't love Him with the intimacy and depth that I long to. The list goes on and on.
In each of those moments, the Lord has been to quick and sweet to remind me of my identity.
I am chosen
I am adopted
I am redeemed
I am loved
I am His
I am His
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
I'm not condemned, but I'm free. It's for freedom that Christ has set me free. I know this in my head, but it doesn't always connect to my heart. Those kitchen moments happen in my car, in my room, in my office. They happen for you too. In those times of guilt and shame- when your deceptive heart tells you how much you've failed, how far you have to go, how unworthy and unloveable you are, how prone to sin and wondering you are- there is the voice of Jesus Christ, reminding you of who you are in Him, reminding you of what He's done for you, reminding you of the joy, forgiveness, love, and hope He offers; that sure and steadfast anchor for your soul.