Here’s a lie I hear sometimes:
“I’m so tired/depressed/sad/whatever that I can’t just go to church and put on a happy face and act like nothing’s wrong.”
I’ve heard that so many times from so many people. I’ve heard it in my own mind on off days. We’ve always been told we’re more than conquerors, above and not beneath, the head and not the tail. We believe it ought to be true, but we don’t feel it. Then, if we’re not careful, we can start to feel guilty for not feeling what we’ve been told we ought to believe.
In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, which I heartily recommend, author Peter Scazzero says, “Deep down, many of us feel ashamed like Joe, a visitor to New Life, who said to me recently: ‘Feeling sad or depressed or anxious about the future has got to be due to my unbelief. This is not God. It has to be related to my sins. I just figured it was better I stay away from Church and Christians for a while until I get over it.’”
How many times have I heard discouraged Christians say something like this? Yet people don’t ask themselves whose kingdom this serves. Do you think God is served by us staying away from church in the darkness of our depression? Doesn’t that simply allow the devil to consume us in private, hoping that we never return to the fold?
Here’s what probably happened: You have a high standard for your behavior. You probably expected more from yourself than God does! But maybe you messed up, disappointed someone, looked at porn, had bad thoughts, whatever. Or maybe terrible things happened to you—stuff that should never happen to anybody. Now you’re feeling sad and alone, and no one but you might know. But you know.
And then you hear that sarcastic little voice that says, “What a fine Christian you are! Jesus would never act like this! You should be ashamed.” Then the voice tells you to isolate yourself, protect yourself from others and protect others from your depression, it will pass, you just need to be alone.
Too often people believe this is Holy Spirit condemning us. But that voice didn’t come from Holy Spirit. It didn’t come from our minds. It came from the enemy who wants to shame us, discourage us, and separate us, so he can devour us. Why should we cooperate?
Perhaps you do need to repent. But not so much for the sin that’s on your conscience. You might need to repent for thinking so highly of yourself that you got disappointed that you could sin or be beaten by a trial. God doesn’t let us make excuses for failure, but He’s not surprised when we’re not perfect. It’s only our pride that makes us hurt and surprised when we mess up.
And when we mess up, God doesn’t condemn us. The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict the world of not believing the Gospel, to convict the devil that he is judged and condemned, and to convince us that we are righteous because Jesus is at the right hand of the Father advocating for us! (John 16:7-11). Holy Spirit is not the accuser! It’s that unholy spirit who condemns, and he does it to draw us away from God.
The devil feels it when we praise God. He hurts when we rejoice. He loses ground when we speak victory that we don’t even feel, just because God says it, and it’s true.Whether we feel success or depression, God doesn't condemn us. Click To Tweet
So last Sunday when I heard those familiar lying voices, I resisted. I told myself, “you don’t go to church to be seen. You don’t go to minister. You go for the healing that’s there. You go for God who meets you there.” So I’m going back. I’m not going to miss it!
I’m so glad I didn’t stay home to lick my wounds. I went and got blessed, and I blessed God in the bargain. I went on a praise offensive, and the dark cloud was broken. Yay Jesus! And now I have the privilege of telling you, you are truly more than a conqueror. But you are not perfect, and God likes you just as you are!
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