This is the second instalment of our weekly Red Rock Faith Talks from the staff at RRBC. Every Monday in May and June, the blog will feature a post from a current Red Rock staff member sharing what’s on their heart, and what God is challenging them with. This week we have our female Head Counsellor, Sarah Froese, sharing about the difference of conviction and condemnation.
A friend and I were recently talking about following Jesus; about what it looks like to take his words as commands, and not just suggestions. We talked about our efforts to follow and our attempts to please God, but concluded we have a tendency of skipping over some bits, and interpreting them through our culture to make them do-able. We both felt convicted about different God-given words we had not been taking seriously. For me, it was the way we are called to know and help the poor. I was feeling very uncomfortable about my comfort, and it was at that time that a quote from Shane Claiborne struck me—“God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.” How true that was becoming in my life! I give to people in many different ways, yet kind-of-sort-of only until it becomes uncomfortable. I felt called to go out, and convicted to make a move to get to know the poor who surround me.
Days went by and I meditated on this conviction, and continued to feel more and more uncomfortable and less and less satisfied with myself. The bright light of what God had revealed to me began to slowly fade to grey. I was beginning to feel guilty, shameful, and hopeless. It didn’t take long to realize what had happened—this was no longer conviction I was sensing, this was condemnation. And it was no longer of God.
Conviction is a work of God’s Spirit in our lives—John 15:2 says that God will prune the parts of us that are not producing fruit to bring growth and restore us to what He intended.
Condemnation, on the other hand, is not much of a fruit-producer. “Doom”, “sentence”, “denounce”, and “attack” are all synonyms of “condemn,” and those are not words that Christ uses with those who call him Savior. Even as I felt the shame of falling short, this rung in my ears: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). This promise was at odds with my situation, and God gave me wisdom to see that this predicament was from the enemy. Satan has tried this in my life before. He takes something good, something of God, and twist it slightly so that it doesn’t do what God was intending. But I praise God, because the belt of truth around my waist was doing its thing that day. God’s truth is much stronger than the lie of the enemy.
As God showed me the truth, pure grace washed over me. I remembered, in a real and tangible way, the grace that Jesus gives to me. I remembered that I will never do everything as well as the Bible asks me to, but out of love, I can try!
I urge you not to be afraid of the journey that Christ calls us to—this life of love. For though what we are called to seems insurmountable, with Christ, everything is possible. And his grace covers us. Be encouraged! Love the Lord your God with all you have, and you will follow Christ’s commands because you trust in him, and want to make him proud.
How does the conviction I have fit with the life I live at Red Rock in the next four months? I will love those who are poor in spirit and those who are tired. I will endeavor to love people beyond my job description, to the point of discomfort. Indeed, God disturbs the comfortable, but He also comforts the disturbed.
Be sure to check back next Monday for another Red Rock Faith Talk!