My favorite band, NEEDTOBREATHE, has recently been singing a new song called "Devil's been talkin", and since I first heard it, that phrase has been a theme in my life, serving as a reminder.
I remember when I first began really having a relationship with God. I was overwhelmed by His grace, and felt like all the things I had done wrong were completely washed away. And they were. But somewhere in between then and now, as God began to show me the deeper issues of my heart so I could deal with them and move closer to being like Him, I began to lose sight of grace. Instead of seeing an opportunity for more healing and transformation, I began to see through eyes of condemnation and shame. Because I keep sinning and messing up, it feels worse because I "shouldn't" be that way. "Shouldn't" I be more like Jesus?
This morning, God spoke to my heart. He showed me that the things He's showing me now about my flaws and character issues are things I couldn't handle or understand when I first came to Him for forgiveness. Rather, He is peeling off the layers of who I've been so that He can show me how to be more like Him. So instead of kicking myself for being such a "terrible" person, I just need to bring those areas to Him so He can forgive and show me where to go from here. How often I choose to kick myself instead! It says in Romans 8:1-2 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." But oh how the Devil would like us to live in condemnation! He talks and talks and talks, showing us our sin all while trying to convince us that we should know better and be better. That because we are such horrible sinners parading around as Christians, we don't have the right to live in grace. And if we agree, we become weighted by shame and unable to move forward...living in a world where we know the truth but don't live in it.
The truth---Christ has set me FREE! Yes, I still mess up, and yes, I have a long way to go to become more like Jesus...but because of His sacrifice, I am free. No condemnation. No kicking myself. Pretty amazing. I just need to live in the truth and stop listening to that ol' Devil!