“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ESV).
I have struggled throughout my Christian life with my value as a Christian, and even as a human being. A large part of that is predicated upon my “self-talk.” I tend to rehash my failures in life and faith. I have a hard time forgiving myself, so I struggle with thoughts that I am unworthy of God’s forgiveness. I struggle with sins and attitudes that seem to follow me around like a shadow.
Some of it is because some of my early growth as a Christian came from churches where I was taught to be judgmental. It wasn’t explicitly taught, but the subtleties of speech and body language made it clear that if you admitted to struggling with sin you were somehow “less than….” The result of this was feelings of condemnation. I perceived that I was being judged and condemned, so I condemned myself.
As a result, I often struggle with verses like Romans 8:1. It loops into a vicious circle. God says that I am not condemned. But since I feel condemned, I feel guilty for not feeling free.
I’m pretty sure that I am not alone here.
So, how do we grasp the freedom that is ours in Christ? How do we reconcile our lives, as we continue to struggle with sin, with our faith in a Savior who says we are free? How do we live our lives unburdened from the weight of our sins all the while knowing how much we really struggle? Doesn’t that make us hypocrites?
I believe that the answer is found in the “Love Chapter.” “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV). It’s all a matter of how you look at things (wordplay fully intended!), I guess.
A mirror offers us a reflection, a flipped and distorted image of reality. We don’t feel free because we don’t look free. We see all of our flaws. We see our physical self in a constant state of entropy. We fail to glimpse the miracle that has taken place on the inside because we can’t seem to get past the decay of the outside!
One day we will see ourselves, no longer through a mirror, but through the eyes of God. We will see things as they really are. We shall know both Him and ourselves as we are even now fully known.
Until then, our greatest efforts must be spent on knowing Him more, and trusting that He will reveal to us our true selves as He lovingly molds us in His image.
Blessings on your weekend!