Is It the Spirit’s Conviction or Self-condemnation?

by | May 21, 2024 | Christian Living in the Trenches, Depression and Faith

When you’re hurting, how should awareness of Jesus’ suffering affect you?

Why can’t you experience complete or perfect satisfaction in this life?

Why is rest never found in a quest to understand why trials come?

How does marriage cultivate one’s character?

What really motivates a person to change?

What is the difference between conviction for sin and self-condemnation?

The 12 quotes that follow, each from a different Christian author, address those questions, as well as other issues. I provide a reflective question after each quote. May these excerpts resonate with you, as they did me.


“What is most personal and unique in each of us is probably the very element which would, if shared or expressed, speak most deeply to others.” Henri Nouwen, Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society

When has another believer’s transparency about his or her spiritual pilgrimage ministered to you? If you were more transparent about struggles in your journey and lessons learned from them, how could others benefit?


“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”   C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What is the value for the here-and-now of anticipating heaven?


“Ministry is my putting out whatever the Lord is putting into me.”  Ron Dunn

What is an application for you of Dunn’s definition of ministry? 


“There is a significant difference between conviction brought about by the Spirit and self-condemnation brought about by the Accuser (Satan). Conviction of sin draws me away from myself and toward God; it frees me to repent, grants me sorrow over offending my King, and floods me with relief in knowing that His smile still rests upon me. It eventuates in my loving Jesus more. Self-condemnation, on the other hand, draws me down into myself and away from God. It makes me afraid and distrustful of him. It entraps me in unrelenting self-loathing and unbelief. Self-condemnation doesn’t make me love Jesus more, because it is not necessarily about him. It’s about me.”  Elyse Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross

How is self-recrimination over our inconsistent spiritual performance a rejection of God’s grace?


“Bodily pain should help us understand the cross, but mental depression should make us apt scholars of Gethsemane. The sympathy of Jesus is  the next most precious thing to his sacrifice. To feel in our being that the God to whom we cry has himself suffered  as we do enables us to feel that we are not alone and that God is not cruel.”   Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Zack Eswine’s Spurgeon’s Sorrows

What is a logical application of Spurgeon’s emphasis on Jesus’ humanity and suffering?


“True prayer, by definition, is an act of surrender, the antidote to grasping for control (and the anxiety produced by such striving). We don’t need to live in denial or disillusionment; we only need to understand prayer as an act of surrender to our tender Abba, not as a means to control our world.”     Scotty Smith, Searching for Grace

When is prayer a vain attempt to control our circumstances, rather than an act of surrender?


“We all face things that appear to make little sense and don’t seem to serve any good purpose. Rest is never found in the quest to understand it all.  No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good.”     Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies

When life hurts, what attributes of God make it a bit easier to trust Him with the pain?


“Through my own troubles, God has not given me explanations. But He has met me as a person, as an individual, and that’s what we most need.”     Elisabeth Elliot, Suffering Is Never for Nothing

When have you experienced the comfort of God’s presence even when you didn’t understand the reason for a trial?


“If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within us to give them, and this leads us to prayer.”     Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

Why is intercession for others a taken-for-granted form of ministry?


“A spouse may be difficult to live with at times, but that’s what marriage is for, to teach us how to love! Marriage cultivates our character in two ways: it teaches us to forgive and provides a context for becoming a servant.”   Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage

What are some unrealistic expectations that some people take into marriage?


“Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.” R. C. Sproul

Why are the timeless promises that God gives us in His Word a prerequisite for hope?


“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”   Peter Scazerro, The Emotionally Healthy Church

When did some type of pain become a catalyst for you to change?


Which quote resonated most with you today? Why?


Terry’s New Book

My new book, Can You See the Cross from There? Grace and Grit for Sufferers and Sinners, is now available on Amazon. All 31 chapters begin with an original faith poem, then delve into biblical teaching on the need and topic broached in the poem. Every chapter includes a prayer, application questions and a quote from a known Christian author.

I gleaned all 12 quotes in this post from the new book.

It is the most original, and perhaps the most significant among the 15+ books I’ve had the privilege to write. Themes include God’s sovereignty and suffering, appropriating the benefits of Jesus’ death on the cross, characteristics of personal revival, the value of Christian fellowship, threats to marriage, dealing with despondency, and preaching to yourself truths from God’s Word to combat false beliefs and the lies of our enemy.

You’ll encounter raw transparency and receive practical helps for your own faith journey. The following link takes you to the book’s page on Amazon. If you get a copy, you’ll be glad you did.

Please note: comments are closed after two weeks. You are welcome to contact me directly after that time if you would like to share your thoughts.



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email

Pin It on Pinterest