You Are Not Defined by Your Mistakes
March 9, 2016
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Making mistakes is an unavoidable hazard in life. As humans, whether by ignorance or insolence, we make decisions or statements we later regret. However, what is most important in these situations is how we respond to our sins or mistakes. In addition to making efforts to rectify our error, we should also introspectively reflect on the causes of our error in the first place. In those times we may hear two voices—one of condemnation and another of conviction—and the voice we listen to will determine our self-perception and subsequent actions.
[Photo by Chris and Karen Highland on Flickr]
Too often, the voice that penetrates our hearts and minds is one of condemnation. “Condemnation frames one instance, one momentary lapse of judgment, and turns it into the defining moment of our life,” said Tim Winters, our executive pastor here at Shepherd Church. Condemnation is the counterfeit version of conviction; it tells us that we need to change, but at the same time taunts us that we cannot change. The truth is, God put condemnation on the shoulders of His Son, Jesus Christ, when He died for our sins, so that we do not have to experience it ourselves.
“Condemnation frames one instance, one momentary lapse of judgment, and turns it into the defining moment of our life.” – Tim Winters
God’s word promises in Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” One word that is often overlooked in this Scripture is the word “now.” When Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, He did so for all of our past, present, and future transgressions, declaring in John 19:20, “It is finished.” The price has already been paid; all we need to do is accept His ransom on our behalf.
While God’s word is clear that there is no condemnation for our sins, there are always consequences of our sins. We must remember that sin is a choice, and it is oftentimes ugly, disturbing, hurtful, and frustrating. We may have a choice in our sin, but we do not have a choice in the consequences. Too often, our sins impact people who we never intended to affect. As we respond to our sin and their inevitable consequences, believers who have been set free from ultimate condemnation must choose to listen to the voice of conviction in order to truly be healed and restored from iniquity.
[Photo by Kyle Pearce on Flickr]
God’s Holy Spirit, the voice of conviction, begins by reminding us who we are: God’s masterpiece, created in His image and loved by Him (Genesis 1:26-27; John 3:16). Once God reminds us of who we are, He begins to deal with our sin. Similar to effective parenting, a parent reminds his or her child who he or she is in relation to the parent, before taking disciplinary action. In contrast, condemnation always starts with what we’ve done, and then accuses us of who are. The enemy condemns us so he can destroy us. God convicts us so He can correct us and make us more like Him. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He gives us the strength to overcome pride, addictions, greed and other roots of sin, and humbles us to seek forgiveness.
The enemy condemns us so he can destroy us. God convicts us so He can correct us and make us more like Him.
To which voice will you listen? In the face of mistakes and their respective consequences, how will you respond? Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For those who would accept Jesus’ invitation of salvation from our sins, He gives us His Holy Spirit, who works in us to remind us what we should and should not do (John 16:7-11). Furthermore, God works in us “to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). If you want to learn more about who you are in Christ and what His amazing purpose is for your life, please join us for weekend services at Shepherd Church.