Do you ever struggle with feelings of self-condemnation? Have you caught yourself judging others? Do your life circumstances sometimes make you doubt God’s goodness and His love for you?
Today, we’re going to explore the roots of a judgmental spirit, and how direct encounter with God can set us on a correct path – the path where we, as individuals and as the church as a whole, can achieve the plan that God has revealed for us.
When did judgment begin?
We were born, after the Fall, separated from our Father God, because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were in Paradise, naked (and naked was not bad); they were completely intimate and open with the Lord. Nothing was between them and the Father. Day and night, they walked in the garden, face to face with Him, and in perfect intimacy with each another.
What did they get from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? It brought about the experience of good and evil, instead of just good, and instead of just God. Now, they knew evil. They knew judgment. There was no judgment before then. They were now able to judge. Through their knowledge of good and evil, they could judge what was good and what was evil.
Is our judgment always right?
Who says what’s good and what’s evil? Who gets to decide that? Before they ate the fruit, all Adam and Eve knew was God. God was good, and they were good, and everything was good…until the enemy came. When they listened to Satan and ate the fruit, it brought the ability to judge. And that judgment brought shame, fear, and separation from that intimacy – separation from the Father.
On some level, they forgot God’s nature. They even judged God as not always being good. That judgment of God wasn’t there before then. He was always good because that’s who He is. But the ability to decide came because of that separation. It disconnected them…not by experience…but by false knowledge. False knowledge grew from that seed of doubt, planted by the serpent, about God and His goodness.
As they began to judge good and evil, they decided to judge God as evil in some capacities. They wouldn’t have hidden from Him otherwise. They were now afraid of Him. They were never afraid of Him before…there was no fear. Now fear separated them. After they went to hide because they were afraid, what else came? Shame! Shame speaks to unworthiness.
Now they had the ability to judge themselves as not good enough. We’re born into it now. We’re born into a sinful state. We’re born into the capacity to have that knowledge of good and evil. However, our judgment can be faulty if it’s based on the wrong information.
If our judgments of right and wrong are based on tradition, or cultural norms, or our feelings or on anything other than God’s innate and incomparable goodness and what He says about us and what He says is right and wrong, then we can make the wrong judgments.
Why do we need encounter with God?
Everything about our encounter with God is intrinsically important because we have to regain the ability to know that He’s good all the time by encounter and experience with His Presence. We can’t just know that God is good by information. We must have an encounter – a revelation of His goodness.
As we read through this passage in Ephesians, listen to what it is saying about the encounter we can have with God! He wants to have intimacy with us. He wants us to know Him. He wants to accomplish His purpose through us! He is singing over us. He speaks to who we are – our value and our worth.
10 [The purpose is] that through the church the [c]complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.
11 This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:10-12, Amplified Bible
What is a religious spirit?
I love that in the above passage, he mentions the church. God’s plan is revealed through the church. But there’s a difference between “Churchianity” and Christianity. Satan loves to counterfeit, and he tries to replace intimacy with God with works, with traditions, with a judgmental spirit – a religious spirit. Satan loves to get us into a place where we doubt God’s consummate goodness, we condemn ourselves, and we judge our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It’s really easy for us to get into judgment. It goes all the way back to when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We’ve got to get out of judgment because that’s the very root of a religious spirit. Due to our human nature – our fallen nature – we all have that “not good enough” button that can be pushed…unless you get rid of the button!
We need to listen to Him and declare what He says!
The following is taken from Beth Moore’s book, Believing God. This is your shield of faith:
- God is who He says He is.
- God will do what He says He will do.
- I am who God says that I am.
- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
- God’s Word is alive and active in me.
- I am believing God. Amen, amen and hallelujah!
How can journaling help?
We need to remember the Lord our God who brought us out of slavery. We need to remember the things He’s done. It’s helpful to record the ways we have experienced the goodness of God – to write down the things that He has done, even the smallest of things. Then, when we are in those “pit places,” where we doubt God or begin condemning ourselves and others, we immediately call to mind that God did this and God did that. We remember this encounter, and we remember that testimony and we remember Him! We remember that He is good! We may not understand – we’re not called to understand all things. We’re just called to believe Him.
We need to spit out the fruit!
So, Father, we come before You right now and declare, “You are good.” And we repent right now from ever eating, via our mother and father in Adam and Eve on down through every generational line, from them to us, we repent from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Right now, we just spit out that fruit.
Lord, we ask You to send away the spirit of judgment – that religious spirit, the spirit of comparison and competition, the orphan spirit, the spirit of fear, the spirit of heaviness and depression – the spirit of anti-Christ. God, anything defective of which we’ve partaken, we plead the blood of Jesus, to cleanse it all right now. We just renounce and rebuke it in Jesus’ name.
I thank You, God, that You said, ‘To him who overcomes I will give the right to eat from the tree of life.’ Lord, I thank You that when we said ‘yes!’ to Jesus, we partook of the tree of life. Jesus, You are the way, the truth, and the life. And so we eat of You. We taste and see that You are good! We eat from the tree of life. Thank you, God!
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