Saturday, July 05, 2008

Romans 8:1-11

“There is no condemnation…” I don’t know about you, but that gets my attention. Frankly, I live with a lot of condemnation. Perhaps you do too.

Some of that condemnation does come from others. Most of it, however, comes from inside me. Perhaps it’s what I think others think about me. From what I can tell, most people live with conversations in our head. Maybe it’s a conversation with a boss, a spouse, a parent (even if they are long dead), or some other key person in our life. The conversations often occur when we perceive that someone is critical of us, and so we feel a need to justify ourselves to them.

Or perhaps it is that I am very aware of my faults, and no matter how well I do at something, cannot escape the feeling that I should have done better. Or maybe it’s that I feel like I’m letting others down. Personally, I often struggle with this one.

The point is, I can always find reasons to condemn myself, to feel bad about myself, to not like me very much. Not only is this a painful way to live, but I hope you’ve noticed it is also pretty self-obsessed, which is not a good thing either, and keeps the cycle of condemnation going.

So the thought that we can be free from all this is as good as good news gets. The thought that I can feel good about myself, or maybe even be freed from thinking so much about myself in the first place and just get about the business of loving others, is incredibly liberating.

So how am I free from condemnation? By growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ and learning to live in the life of the Spirit.

As I learn to live more and more in the Spirit, my focus shifts away from me to others. It shifts away from protecting my own ego to sharing love. It shifts away from a preoccupation with what is wrong to being devoted to what is right. It shifts away from condemnation—feeling bad-- to celebration—reveling in God’s immense goodness.

This takes time—a lifetime in fact. It takes diligence and discipline to do so. But to live free from condemnation--now that's sweet!

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