“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” ~ Romans 8:1
Have you ever heard it said, “conviction is of God, but condemnation is of the devil” only to wonder how do you tell the difference? First of all, let me give you a little context to what the apostle Paul is talking about here. In chapter seven of Romans he’s talking about how no good thing dwells in our flesh. Even though we’re born again in our spirit, our flesh hasn’t been born again, so there is a struggle between our flesh and our spirit. As believers we’re supposed to walk after our spirit, not our flesh. However, we’re not supposed to allow condemnation to take root in our heart because of that struggle. If we do miss it we’re to get right back up and endeavor to continue to walk after the Spirit.
So how do you tell the difference between conviction of the Holy Spirit and condemnation of the devil? Here are some ways you can tell the difference: 1) Condemnation hinders your walk with God, while conviction aides it. 2) Confession of condemnation = more guilt. Confession of conviction = peace. Peace should always follow confession, not guilt. 3) Conviction leaves you feeling like there is help for you, while condemnation leaves you feeling beat up. 4) Conviction has peace associated with it, condemnation has despair.
As a young man when God was convicting me to give my life to Jesus I didn’t feel beat up. I could feel the peace that was waiting for me if I obeyed. Never let condemnation take root in your life. Condemnation is one of the things that the devil uses to keep believers out of the liberating life in the Spirit.