“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1 ESV
“Wow,” my oldest daughter mused over her lunch, “this peanut butter and jelly sandwich is really good.
From the time the child could chew, she’s been a picky eater. Once her teeth grew in, she ate an apple for lunch every single day. But when it came time for Kindergarten, I flipped through parenting magazines in search of a sandwich she would settle in on alongside her daily apple. We compromised on a “smore-wich,” graham crackers, marshmallow, and hazelnut spread. Seven years later, she’d discovered the simple joy of PB and J in her own time. And I was left convicted.
We have a tendency to default to condemnation, or criticism, even though Paul reminds us in today’s verse we are free in Christ. “Condemnation here especially focuses upon the believer’s freedom from the crippling power of sin in this life,” The Moody Bible Commentary explains. Jesus died to release us from all guilt and shame, to free us from the sin that so easily entangles us. “The Christian is no longer ‘under the law,’” the NIV “What does it mean to be ‘in Christ?’ True believers are ‘in Christ’ because they have died with Christ and have been raised to new life with him.”
Let’s pray to have patience with our children, and with each other. But let’s also pray for the strength to resist shame and guilt when we make mistakes, misunderstand, or becoming convicted of a close-minded view. “Those who believe in Christ have the unparalleled privilege of living life in the power of the Holy Spirit,” the Moody Bible Commentary states. “Jesus, through the medium of His sacrificed body, pronounced judgment on sin and broke its power.”
We tend to set the bar so high for ourselves, and fall into feelings of failure when we don’t meet our own unrealistic expectations. We do this to ourselves, and to others. The world puts so much pressure on us, and it truly is painful in a multitude of ways. We confess we compare ourselves to others, and hold ourselves to standards that are unrealistic and unnecessary. The truth is, we fail daily to meet your standard, but by your grace, through faith, we are saved from our sins. Free us from condemnation, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Guide our efforts to align with Your will, Lord. Let all we do, all of our strivings, be to bring glory and honor to Your great name, not to achieve a worldly standard or comparative status. Teach us how to live fully in the freedom of our faith.
Fill our hearts with patience, Father. Search our hearts, and renew a right spirit it in them. Let us see, through Your eyes, who we are – your children. Give us Your perspective and open our ears to hear the godly voices of wisdom and encouragement you have purposefully placed in our lives. Remove our worry, and replace it with reminders of the peace we have in our Savior, Christ Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name,