1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:1-6
We’re at the very beginning of another year. Personally, I feel 2018 was barely a blink. As a matter of fact, I feel as if the last several years have been a blink. The moments have shortened to where they’re fleeting, disappearing with barely a whisper. For me, as I’m getting older, the only true realization of their passing seems to be the increasing aches and pains I’m feeling.
As another year begins, we sometimes reflect on our past. We recount good times and some of the bad. And in this recounting, we sometimes get caught in the trap of dwelling on mistakes we’ve made and the evil one can use this to advantage. Rather than learn to not repeat it, we suddenly find ourselves drowning in self-condemnation, beginning to wonder how God could love such as us, even doubting the love that drove Jesus to the cross.
These self-condemning thoughts have no place with us as followers of Jesus! We’re not condemned by the only One whose opinion (or thoughts) really matters. We’ve experienced freedom exceeding any human definition of the word! We can’t even fathom the meaning of the depth of love that gives this freedom! Any thoughts that don’t fall into Philippians 4:8 aren’t from God and deserve no consideration.
Some time ago, I began a practice of actively using Jesus’ name to dispel condemning thoughts, whether for me or others. When these thoughts assail me, I speak the name of Jesus (sometimes audibly) and call on him to cast the creator of these thoughts from my mind. It’s a path to renewal (Romans 12:2). If you find yourself considering your past and your thoughts don’t reflect Philippians 4:8, call on Jesus to throw them out. Take on this practice and see if the power of Jesus exceeds all others.
By Rich Obrecht