Daily Devotion: Self-Condemnation

1 Corinthians 4:4, For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

Context is necessary, where just prior to this, Paul said, “I do not even judge myself” (v. 3). He is not speaking on judgement of actions and behaviour, which ought to be judged properly (cf. Matthew 7:1-5), but eternal judgement. He does not allow his conscience to pronounce condemnation over him. Judgement to condemn and save belongs to Christ. This type of judgement does not belong to us; we are only permitted to judge sinful behaviour (again, Matthew 7:1-5). Only the foolish say, “Only God can judge me.” That should terrify you! Yet the statement is true insofar as condemnation and salvation are concerned.

There is too much talk on judging others; there is seldom any talk on self-judgement. Self-condemnation is the realm in which the Devil is most active. He works in secret; his whispers are subtle; his lies are insidious. The Devil arduously works in the dark recesses of the mind to foster self-doubt, self-hatred, and self-abuse that one eventually condemns oneself. Paul prohibited such self-destruction from himself; he was no doubt wholly cognisant of the human propensity to self-condemn due to the Devil’s insidious lies.

What lies do you tell yourself? Lies are often difficult to recognise, for the Devil deeply ingrains them into our thinking. To identify these lies, write down any negative thoughts you have about yourself, even if it hurts. Then talk to a loved one you trust, or your pastor (I recommend both). Then, finally, turn to Christ. Only Christ judges your worth. What does He say about you? Who does He say you are?

You are His friend (John 15:15), a child of God the Father (1 John 3:1-3), justified—declared innocent—through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2, 6-11), and other glorious things. Therefore, your troubled conscience has no authority over your soul. God has the final say, and He says to you, through Jesus, just as He said to Israel through the prophet Isaiah, “I have called you by name; you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

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