How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Sixth Test
By Rick Warren
— March 20, 2011
"If you’ve ever felt guilty but you couldn’t point to anything specific, or if you’ve ever had a feeling of worthlessness, that is condemnation from Satan."
“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NLT)
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When you get an idea and you are wondering if it is from God, the sixth question to ask yourself is, “Is it convicting or is it condemning?” If it convicts, then it is from God, but if it condemns then it is from Satan.
A lot of Christians live under condemnation, or constant guilt, and they think it is from God. It isn’t. Condemnation comes from Satan. But conviction comes from God.
Here’s the difference between the two: The purpose of conviction is to correct you on a specific issue in order to bring a change in your life, and it is motivated by God’s love. Because God loves you, when he sees an area in your life that needs change – a relationship, a habit, an attitude – he will nudge you and say, “You need to work on this thing that’s out of whack in your life.”
The purpose of condemnation is to criticize and make you feel guilty, usually in a vague way. If you’ve ever felt guilty but you couldn’t point to anything specific, or if you’ve ever had a feeling of worthlessness, that is condemnation from Satan.
But Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). God will never attack you; he will never say you’re worthless or unlovable. In fact, in Revelation 3:19 God says, “Those whom I dearly and tenderly love, I tell their faults and convict and discipline. So be earnest and repent (changing your mind and attitude)” (AMP).
As soon as you start to confess and change, you will no longer feel any conviction. It’s short-term.
But condemnation is Satan’s way of making you feel worse and worse. It doesn’t go away even after confession. It’s like the American court system. First there is the conviction of a crime in the court; then comes the condemnation, or sentencing which can last for years.
But God doesn’t work that way. In God’s justice system the Holy Spirit convicts us of what’s wrong in our life and we admit it. Jesus pays the condemnation. He serves the punishment for our sin through his death on the cross. And we are free to live the way God created us to live, to live the way Jesus enables us to live. That’s the grace of God.
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To learn more about God’s Grace, read Costly Grace by Jon Walker. Rick Warren says Costly Grace “strips discipleship down to its essentials, where we discover again that, when we face uncertainty, our only certainty is in Jesus.”
More on Grace from Saddleback Resources –
- Foundations is a comprehensive tool for teaching the essential truths of Christian faith in a simple, systematic, and life-changing way. The 24 sessions, taught by Kay Warren and Tom Holladay, will take you on a thought provoking, life-changing exploration of 11 core doctrines: The Bible, God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Creation, Salvation, Sanctification, Good and Evil, The Afterlife, The Church, and The Second Coming.
- Growing with Purpose, a devotional that teaches love always triumphs over lists of rules, where no one is forgotten, and where everyone gets more than a second chance.