Leaning on The Comforter When My Heart Condemns Me
Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of his soul towards thee? Go measure heaven with thy span; go weigh the mountains in the scales; go take the ocean's water, and tell each drop; go count the sand upon the sea's wide shore; and when thou hast accomplished this, thou canst tell how much he loveth thee. He has loved thee long, he has loved thee well, he loved thee ever, and he still shall love thee; surely he is the person to comfort thee, because he loves. Admit him, then, to your heart, O Christian, that he may comfort you in your distress.
Charles Spurgeon - The Comforter
I am well acquainted with guilt. When you are living in unrepentant sin, there is always a heaviness of shame over your heart. I think the lie that we tell ourselves, or maybe that Satan tells us, is that it will get better. That eventually the situation will resolve itself without a need for us to confess and repent. That we can keep plowing forward, because our ultimate goal is good. That the ends justify the means.
The Comforter prompts us to turn back and fix where we went wrong in the beginning, and that the vulnerability of confession and the humility of repentance will shape our hearts and help us mature into the measure of Christ. That the end goal will be sweeter because we took the time to reach it in His strength instead of our own.
I remember a period where I was dealing with this fight in my heart, and I was choosing to plow forward in my sin, hoping that God would fix the mess without making me backtrack. I was driving down the highway and just started to cry, because it hit me that I did not deserve the love and favor of God.
Here I was, deliberately deciding to continue in disobedience and presume upon his grace, and yet he still loved me. He still gently prodded me to turn and sin no more. He was still willing to forgive and welcome me back like the prodigal.
There have been times in my life when I felt that God was disciplining me, and I don’t want to disregard that aspect of his character. But I find that I am usually the one condemning myself. I am the one doling out harsh judgment and writing off my own worth.
The Spirit tends to be the Comforter to me. He tends to illuminate, teach, nudge, and guide instead of cutting me down like I’m prone to do to myself.
I have heard the Holy Spirit be explained as your conscience, but I don’t believe that those are the same thing. Your conscience is that part of you that can tell right from wrong, the ability we gained when Eve ate the forbidden fruit. But the voice of God in your heart isn’t there to condemn you, it is there to save you.
When you have been telling yourself all the reasons you don’t measure up, all the reasons you aren’t qualified to do the ministry that God has called you to, remember this -- when the Comforter convicts, he does it in love. Listen to the voice that loves you. Lean on the one who comforts you.