Overcoming a Spirit of Condemnation

Michael Beck

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A spirit of condemnation pretends to know us better than anyone else, accusing us of being “bad to the bone.”

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. (1 Samuel 17:28)

naughtiness > Heb. – roa > badness, evil, willfulness

A spirit of condemnation harangues us for not doing something, or not doing it “right,” or “as good” as others. A spirit of condemnation negatively compares us with others.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

A spirit of condemnation can be very religious, holding us up against a standard that the best and holiest saints presumably keep. Such is not done to inspire us, but to depress and oppress us with the charge: “You’re not making the grade!”

A spirit of condemnation can have entered us as a child or young person through shaming, criticism, or comparison. Devils are not above tormenting the young, and unless resisted, continue to plague them into adulthood.

A spirit of condemnation can cause us to feel trapped in the sins of our parents.

A spirit of condemnation shames us for things we cannot change about ourselves apart from the miraculous working of God in us.

A spirit of condemnation would give us eyes which God is not giving us, and would blind us to what God wants us to see.

A spirit of condemnation would have us know ourselves after the flesh, where things are impossible, instead of in God, where all things are possible.

And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. (Luke 18:27)

A spirit of condemnation will not let us escape our past and points us to who we were apart from Christ; the Holy Spirit points to who we now are in Christ.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Unlike the Holy Spirit who convicts our actions and attitudes, in order to help us grow in Christ; a spirit of condemnation attacks our person in order to discourage and stymie our growth.

A spirit of condemnation points to what we can’t do; the Holy Spirit points to what we can do through the strength of Christ.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

A spirit of condemnation points to what we don’t have; the Holy Spirit points us to what we do have in Christ.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises … (2 Peter 1:3,4)

A spirit of condemnation will not let us see ourselves as God sees us in Christ.

A spirit of condemnation points to our past in order to foster despair over our future. Even if we believe there is forgiveness for our past actions, it prevents us from believing we can “go and sin no more.”

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:10,11)

A spirit of condemnation operates through unbelief, telling us that we are “too damaged,” “beyond repair,” etc. It causes us to doubt that God through Christ can fix such a one as ourselves. Others only add to our despair when they doubt we will ever change.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:21-24)

A spirit of condemnation is a device of the devil (i.e., diabolos) which opens us up to a never-ending stream of accusation.

devil > Gr. – diabolos > devil 35, false accuser 2, slanderer 1 > derived from Gr. verb diaballo > accuse

dia > a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act + ballo > to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

Once a devil is given liberty to speak he will throw whatever lie he can at us to keep us from receiving the word of God. He must be blinded by the power of God and not allowed to see or tell us anything.

… Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. (Acts 13:7-12)

The devil is a scoundrel who has a thousand different lies in his “toolbox,” each of which is designed to rob us of what God would freely and generously give us. His entire aim is to leave us empty of God’s gracious, loving provision.

For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. (Isaiah 32:6-8)

The devil is merciless. He exposes a believer to torment through demonic lies that they are outside of Christ and therefore under the condemnation of God, either because 1.) they are unable to believe, or 2.) God doesn’t want to save them. A spirit of condemnation allows the devil to mount a direct attack upon faith in God’s Word.

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:3,4)

Devils that “set up shop” in us through a spirit of condemnation never let us receive a word of exhortation. Every exhortation in the Word of God is seen as a reminder of our lack and used to discourage us.

And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. (Hebrews 13:22)

Devils are given an open invitation to throw a thousand different accusations against us if we embrace a spirit of condemnation. Devils are dislodged and forced to depart when we renounce and steadfastly refuse a spirit of condemnation. Once we have overcome a spirit of condemnation, lying devils which used them as a base of operations will be silenced and the Spirit of truth will have great liberty to minister the truth of God’s Word to us.

A spirit of condemnation robs us of confidence toward God; barring us from His presence and destroying our ability to pray.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. (1 John 3:20,21)

The ultimate aim of the devil in using a spirit of condemnation is to separate us from relationship with God.

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. (Proverbs 16:28)

As God’s adversary, Satan loves to promote a message of condemnation because it is the exact opposite of God’s mission in Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned … (John 3:16-18)

The believer has zero condemnation on them.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

God has given us His Spirit so we can know all He has freely given us in Christ.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:12)

Our God is a great, good, generous God. All that we have need of, the Father’s hand has provided in His Son.

LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. (Isaiah 26:12)

I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. My soul is among lions … (Psalm 57:2-4)

We are kept from being swallowed up the devouring lion by our faith in the work of Christ.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11)

The “word of our testimony” is our public declaration of all God has done for and in us through Christ.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. (Psalm 66:16)

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. (Psalm 34:2)

Nothing, (not righteousness, holiness, faith, love, patience,) is “of ourselves.” ALL is of God through Christ.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Because all is of God, and we are His workmanship, we have nothing to fear – He is able to finish the good work He started in us.

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psalm 138:8)

When the enemy raises accusations against us, the Spirit lifts up a banner which glories in God and His grace.

So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)

The heritage given to every servant of God is one of overcoming a spirit of condemnation through the gift of the grace of God.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 54:17)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.