Monday, December 3, 2012

Condemnation and Confidence

One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Mon., Dec. 3, 2012: I John 3:7-24

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. I John 3:19-22 (NIV)
The attitude of your heart determines how freely God can bless you.  A condemned heart turns in on itself and shuts itself off from the blessing of God.  A confident heart looks outward and upward with joyful expectancy of the good things to come.

In I John 3:8, John tells us that Jesus, the Son of God, was "manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil."  Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  Jesus comes to break the power of sin and death over our lives and to liberate us into our destiny in Him. 

One of the great tools of the enemy is CONDEMNATION.  He wants us to feel condemned before God -- as if God is pointing a hateful finger at us.  Satan's tactic is to first entice us toward sin.  He tells us how incomplete we are, how inadequate we are, how much we need to do ........... in order to really live.  He makes us so dissatisified that we are willing to break God's law.  Then, once we have caved in, he says, "I can't believe you did that."  He plays pile-on, heaping guilt and condemnation on us.

When we walk in condemnation, we are focused on OURSELVES, not on God and His grace.  It causes a kind of pain in our hearts.  Our guilty consciences undermine our standing before God and reduce us to pleas for mercy rather than confident progress in the Kingdom.

God calls us to walk before Him in CONFIDENCE.  This is not a false self-confidence that flaunts our sin before God in cavalier fashion.  This a confidence based on who God is and what He says.  Even though I may fail again and again, He calls me to rise in full repentance trusting in His unlimited, unmerited grace.  His grace is greater than all my self-condemnation. 

From this position of CONFIDENCE, our prayers are no longer the begging and whining of a whipped puppy, but the strong yet humble requests of a son.  It is to this kind of praying that God quickly responds.  He even says, if we ask in confidence, we "receive from him anything we ask."

By the working of His grace in our hearts, Jesus takes us to another level.  He breaks the power of Satan over us.  He brings in new freedom.  It is an inside job.  We can then walk in confidence, and when we do that, we are at our best.

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