Counselor’s Corner: The Difference between When the Holy Spirit Convicts and the Enemy Condemns
When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin or wrongdoing, it is always done gently and lovingly as a father would disciple his children. When a father disciplines his children it should be not only correct the misbehavior but to offer love and forgiveness afterwards. God corrects His children as a loving father would, with His goal to bring you in a closer relationship with Him.
When the enemy condemns you for a wrongdoing, you feel bad about yourself. Condemnation pulls you away from God because you feel unworthy of your failures, weaknesses and sins in light of God’s Holiness. The enemy will began playing “visual” and “audio” tapes over and over in your mind to cause you to feel not good enough or like a failure. Condemnation prevents you from moving forward by causing you to stay stuck in your past defeats.
Reflect and ponder: Do you feel like you have been in a boxing ring with the enemy, as he pounds you over and over with past failures? Have you asked God to forgive you of any wrongdoing? If you answered yes, then it is the enemy who is making a list of your prior offenses and accusing you.
How do you know when the Holy Spirit convicts and the enemy condemns?
1. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin quickly, He does not wait months or years down the road to bring up past sins (unless you have never repented of a particular sin but even then when He brings up prior sins it is done quickly). When the enemy condemns he brings up the past so you can stew on all your wrongdoings and failures. When you stew over something you already confessed it gives place to the enemy to plant “seeds” that you were not forgiven, or that you are not a “real” Christian. Stewing over past sins causes discouragement, doubt, and depression.
2. Through condemnation, the enemy assaults you with false guilt, shame and regret. If you have asked God to forgive your sins, then going back and replaying what you could have done differently opens the door even further for the enemy to build strongholds through the lies you believe. Once you believe the lies, strongholds (fortresses in the mind) are formed that can take a very long time to tear down.
3. The voice of condemnation is nagging, intrusive, harsh, constant and demeaning. You end-up feeling like a total failure and want to give up. You don’t see a way out. The Holy Spirit speaks softly, gently, suddenly, and lovingly. The enemy can use people to speak condemnation to you and the Holy Spirit can use people to speak life and blessings over you.
4. When condemnation attacks you, past memories of sin, guilt and shame are dug back up. The Holy Spirit never brings your past up without applying hope that He has not only made a way to forgive your sins but now He can use what was in your past for good. The enemy stirs and looks for your weaknesses and past failures, but God uses your weaknesses when you are submitted to Him. The enemy hopes that shame and regret from your past failures will keep you from moving forward, but God always wants you living free from your past and going forward.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
For whenever our heart condemns us; God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.
1 John 3:20