The Women’s Ministry at my church went through Crash the Chatterbox, by Steven Furtick, at our small group Bible study. If you’re not familiar with the book, check out my review; but in short, it’s amazing and I highly recommend it!
The book is divided into the four main areas of lies and deception we find ourselves facing: insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement. If you’re like me, more than one of those rang a bell with you and you’re already feeling slightly uncomfortable. But here’s the best part: after confronting the lies we can overcome them and replace them with the truth found in God’s Word.
One thing I love about our women’s Bible study (if you’re ever in the area please come check it out!) is that it is small group based so we get to discuss our reading and insights with each other. I love it so much that I am bringing the discussion to you on my blog!
Steven Furtick opens this section with a powerful truth when he says, “Satan’s main job isn’t temptation. It’s accusation.” The very first name in Scripture that is used to describe Satan is as an “accuser”. This reality is the very thing that drives him to heap feelings of shame, guilt, and condemnation on us.
If we’re honest, we've all struggled with feelings of shame that we can’t seem to shake or a seemingly insurmountable mountain of condemnation staring at us when we look into the mirror. Have you noticed that when you feel this way, the language of condemnation is entangled with regret over what we should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve done instead? When the chatterbox of condemnation starts playing it usually plays the same regrets on repeat for us to mull over and when we’ve listened to it long enough we begin to internalize the message. This means that shame and condemnation are no longer associated with what we’ve done, but they become who we are.
I can completely relate to this idea. A few years ago I found myself struggling in cycle of sin that I just couldn’t seem to break free from; and if I did, it was only a matter of time until I fell back into it. My chatterbox told me that the shame and condemnation from my actions were a part of who I was and that I would always face defeat in this area of my life. It didn’t take long before the enemy convinced me that this was just who I am and there’s no use fighting it. Shame became my identity and I told myself that, instead of failing, I was a failure; instead of messing up, I was messed up; instead of making a mistake, I was a mistake.
THE IRONY OF CONDEMNATION IS THAT IT CONVINCES US TO HIDE FROM THE ONLY SOURCE THAT CAN LIFT THE CONDEMNATION OFF OUR LIVES.
Steven Furtick says it this way, “Condemnation will never call you to come into God’s presence. It will convince you that you have nowhere to go because of where you’ve been." I found this to be true of my situation: my shame and condemnation kept me from going to God.
ULTIMATELY, WHERE WE DECIDE TO RUN IS WHAT SEPARATES CONDEMNATION FROM CONVICTION.
Condemnation is from Satan and is meant to tear us down and isolate us; conviction is from the Holy Spirit and is meant to lead us to God and to repentance (John 12:47, Romans 2:4, 1 John 1:9). Once I wrapped my mind around the difference I was able to run to God, despite my shame, and allow Him to cover me. I was then able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in changing areas of my heart that I convinced myself could never change; and I have seen much change by the grace of God! This change does not mean I live in a state of perfection, but it does mean I live shame-free. And you can too!
Are there areas of your life that you’ve hidden from others? Are there sins you’ve internalized and now have become part of your identity? Is there a part of your life you feel ashamed to share with others because you’re living in a state of perpetual self-condemnation that you long to be free of?
The good news is that there is freedom for us! Jesus purchased our freedom from all of it: Galatians 5:1a says, “It is for freedom Christ has set you free…” There you go; FREEDOM is why Jesus purchased us. He died so we could be free, but that’s not the end of the verse, now it is up to us to walk out that freedom each day. Galatians 5:1b says, “Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
CHRIST PAID OUR PRICE SO WE COULD BE FREE AND STAY FREE!
It is our right, as children of God, to live free from all bondages, including the heavy weight of condemnation, but we must do it by standing firm. Make no mistake, the Accuser of our soul will constantly present a case against us, and sometimes the evidence and facts gathered against us will be right. Nevertheless, we must stand firm on the Word of God that says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1), that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17), and when the Satan, our past, our flesh, or a person comes to accuse us we can firmly say, “Who then is the one who condemns? NO ONE. It is Christ Jesus who died” (Romans 8:34a, emphasis mine).
The Accuser presented his case against us, Jesus stood in our place to take the punishment, and God, the Judge of all, declared our verdict, "NOT GUILTY!" Let us now live as free men and women in honor of the price paid for us.
What do you do to fight feelings of condemnation or shame?