Our guilt and pain . . . can even become avenues of life and light and love.
That’s the statement with which I ended last week’s post. So how can guilt, pain, flaws, and brokeness lead to something good? Something beautiful?
I believe there are 2 strange and miraculous gifts we are given in and through our experiences of guilt, sin, pain, and failure. The first is the gift of conviction, and the second is the gift of a grace-story. And of course, we are given these gifts in and through the grace of Christ and his redeeming work on the Cross.
Read these 2 excerpts from my new Bible study Surrender Your Guilt and consider how God might be prompting you to receive and to respond to these gifts. (Excerpts are ©Kelli B. Trujillo, published by Wesleyan Publishing House, used with permission)
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Conviction vs. Condemnation
Jesus’ interaction with the woman caught in adultery (John 8) provides us with a powerful snapshot of the difference between conviction and condemnation. Did her sins deserve condemnation? Absolutely—and Jesus’ gracious actions toward her in no way “excused” the sin of adultery. But Jesus did not condemn her—the person she was. Instead, he spoke convicting truth into her life: “Go now and leave your life of sin” (8:11). Jesus directly acknowledged the sin and told her to leave it behind. Rather than the hopeless, dreary, ever-worsening, and (for this woman) even deadly future of condemnation, conviction offered her hope, clearly envisioning for her a new way of being. God’s gift of conviction helps us see that we can be set free and start anew! Continue reading
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Tagged commitment, condemnation, conviction, Flourishing Faith, forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, Jesus, joy, testimony, worship
Dynamic: marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change.
Static: showing little change.
What kind of faith do you desire? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life is God leading you into?
A static life is safer. No hope is needed — keep plodding along each day, just as before. Minimal expectations are required — of course expect the big stuff (like heaven or Jesus coming back), but other risky steps of trust or gutsy expectations have no place in a static life. Hardly any sacrifice is needed either; you can follow your dreams, live by your plan, and keep things as under control as is humanly possible.
A dynamic life and faith, on the other hand, is both rich and scary. Continue reading
One theme I see as I reflect back on even just the last few months of my life is a recurring sense of conviction. A little voice—more my own than the voice of the Holy Spirit—saying in my head, You have a lot to learn. You have a lot to learn from this person.
See, I tend to judge a book by its cover. And I tend to “judge” a person similarly. Not in the sense that I judge by outward appearances, but in the sense that I may tend to think I have a person all figured out just based on a few interactions. And not necessarily in a critical sense (though I struggle with that too!) but more of a basic habit of boiling things down into simple categories. Oh, she’s a mom like me. Or oh, he’s a quiet engineer. Or oh, she’s a busy doctor. And so on.
And then God surprises me. And he convicts me. Continue reading
Much of the lingo regarding spiritual formation has to do with be-ing rather than do-ing. Fundamentally I completely agree with this shift in focus. We seek to abide in Christ rather than “accomplish” for Christ.
But by nature I am a do-er. I am very accomplishment oriented. Each day I leave behind a list scrawled on paper or a Post-it in which I’ve recorded my to-do’s (and attempted to do at least some of them).
This month’s spiritual discipline of life-change adds an element of do-ing to our be-ing as we actively and intentionally join our best efforts with the Spirit’s work in our life, seeking to align our actions, character, and thoughts with the way of Christ.
One powerful way to do this is through the practice of examen.
In examen, we muster the courage take honest stock of our lives with God. Here’s how I explain examen in The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival (you can find more in-depth discussion of this topic in the book):
Ignatius of Loyola taught that Jesus-followers should regularly spend a focused time of prayerful reflection, taking stock of their day and evaluating how well they lived out your faith. He called this practice examen and outlined it in five basic parts:
1. Recognize that you are in the presence of God.
2. Reflect on your day with gratitude and thank God for how he blessed you, guided you, and provided for you.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you prepare to evaluate the outer actions and inner motives of your day. Open yourself to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
4. Take time to prayerfully review your day. Start in the morning and think through the events that occurred during the day—consider your interactions with your children, spouse, and others; reflect on your inner thoughts and feelings; evaluate your use of time and your attentiveness to God. As you review your day, joyfully respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as God points out areas in which you fell short of how he wants you to live and to love. Continue reading