Terrorists know that the best way to maximum damage is to weaponize good things. Put a bomb in a hospital. Send a mother and child into the market strapped with explosives. Poison the water supply. (Where did they come up with this idea? Something so repugnant and inhuman?)
How do you feel, as a Christian? In relation to God? Shame and guilt? Like a failure? Rightly accused for your sins and weakness?
Then what good did Jesus do? What did He accomplish, for us, if this is still how we feel?
If I still live under the shame of my past and my struggles, then what good did His cleansing blood do? If I still live under a sense of guilt over sin, then what good did His gift of freedom do? If I feel like a loser, like a justly accused sinner, then what good did His victory or our justification do?
Pop Quiz: How can you tell the difference between the Holy Spirit's voice of conviction, and satan's voice of accusation?
The Holy Spirit's voice of conviction is a grace, meant to set us free, to fill us with light and strength, to secure us to Christ's love and life and joy.
So how could the Holy Spirit's conviction make us feel like Jesus' work did nothing for us? Does the Spirit of Jesus want us to live as if Jesus' work was useless? Does the Spirit of the Father want to move us away from what His Son accomplished by His death?
Pro Tip: that's not the Spirit's work.
Pro Tip: don't drink that water.
Learn to discern between the Spirit’s conviction and satan’s accusations.
The Spirit’s work can feel hard and difficult; but it is the difficulty of letting go of self-injuring foolishness, or of opening up to love and hope. It is the difficulty of drinking clean water when you want soda-pop.
It is not the difficulty of looking at air where your leg used to be. It is not grisly, gruesome pain. It is not returning us to the condition we felt ourselves to be in *before we met Jesus. No, the Spirit wants to lead us into the condition we've yet to fully realize we now have in Jesus (1 Cor 2:12; Eph 3:19)
The devil’s work feels like pain because he wants to hurt us. He lives to defame Jesus and grieve the Father. He lives to injure Christ's bride and minimize Christ's sacrifice. Best way to do this? Mimic the Spirit's work. Confuse those who ought to be relishing Jesus. Nudge them away.
The deep, identity hitting pain of feeling still accused and condemned--despite supposedly being forgiven--that's demonic pain. The pain of fear for our souls, though they are free, and of shame for who we are, though we are washed and beautiful to God, and of burdensome guilt, though we are once-for-all-it-is-finished forgiven--friends, this pain is not the Holy Spirit's gentle, loving, Christ-exalting, Father-delighting work. I think you know who this stinks of.
Watch out for satan sneaking IED's into your prayer, into your relationship with the Spirit, into your thoughts of Christ's cross, into your sins, or into your obedience.
"Holy Spirit, help me to see where I've been believing, and feeling, a lie. Bring me out of that and into the Love of Christ. Show me what is the height, breadth, depth, and length. Show me the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. Thank you, Lord Spirit."