“Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God”
Scripture can feel like a burden instead of a blessing. Particularly when, for whatever reason, we are down and depressed with ourselves. It is then that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- may not stir us. And if we are battling with personal issues and sin it may add to a sense of total inadequacy and unworthiness. We just aren’t good enough as Christians for these things to be true in us.
The problem is often that, without our being aware of it, we are trying to lift ourselves up through our own efforts. It becomes rather like the power of positive thinking only without the positive which is just not there in us.
Where you are at this point in time is where you are. This is your reality and not some concept of where you could be or should be. Yes, we all could be further down the road as Christians and far holier than we are at present – but we aren’t. And it is into this and all other states of our Christian walk that Paul speaks a word that does not require effort on our part – merely acceptance.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
It is important that we understand exactly what he is saying. This is it – “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And if that is not quite clear enough then this might help – “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
He is not talking about a time when we get ourselves sorted out, when we have overcome all our sins and personal weaknesses and inadequacies. He is talking of ‘now’ not ‘then.’ And so often we miss these vital little words!
Now we can begin to understand where David is coming from when He says “Why am I downcast? Why am I disturbed and miserable?” It is not a matter of how well we are doing but of how marvelously well God has done. This is His great and eternal gift to us. We are not called to earn it or even to live up to it – merely to live it out. For it is from this base that all the other promises make sense and become both real and active. Now I can rejoice – now I can face up to the challenges of the day and the weaknesses in myself – now I can keep on trying, and fall and rise and fall and rise until I no longer fall, and another part of me rejoices in the healing of the Lord.
Be gentle with yourself – not as a licence to sin and to fail, but as an encouragement to keep going with God. In the times that may be tough for you personally recognise them as just that – tough times. Remind yourself that there is now no condemnation ahead for you as a believer in the Lord, and trust that He will indeed see you through the darkness into the glorious wonder of the new and eternal dawn – because He is God and not you. And even these personal trials and temptations will have a positive and blessed outcome for that is what He does.
I am accepted as a child of God – there is no condemnation ahead for me
Lord I believe – help my unbelief. May the Light of Your Truth shine into my darkness and radiate throughout my being – there is no condemnation for me for I am a part of the Life of Your Son. Amen.