Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


For 100 days, beginning January 1, 2017, this blog will feature a devotion from my new book, One Hundred Days to Freedom: Release From the Self-Condemnation of Overweight. This isn't a program that must be followed every single day in order to reap benefit; feel free to visit just once in awhile. Each devotion can stand alone, and the Holy Spirit will quicken your heart to receive blessing even if you are able to stop by only occasionally.

The devotions aren't just for folks who are overweight. As the back cover says, "This book is for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings."

I'll post each day's devotion the evening before so that early risers or middle-of-the-night-wanderers can have access according to their schedules.  

Today's reading is the book's preface (I've called it a prelude as you'll see below). God bless each person who reads these words, in Jesus' Name, by the Holy Spirit's power; amen!



Let heaven and earth stand amazed at his love.
Matthew Henry[i]

 prelude is the melodic beginning of a musical composition, while a preface introduces a book. However, the term “prelude” is appropriate as we sense the beginning strains of the melody of our freedom journey; it is the music of our love for God, love that is released like a hidden spring from our hearts by the power of His great love for us. And so ahead of any determination to gain mastery over health habits and weight, let’s focus on abiding in His love.   

We are being groomed to bear much fruit for God’s kingdom; this requires His virtuosity and our cooperation. We tend to reverse this process as we devise good plans for our own lives and then ask the Creator of the universe to cooperate with us.

We are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind,[ii] and so we bind ourselves with cords of determination as an athlete might lace up a pair of running shoes. We are grimly prepared to strive with valiant effort to do a good job of loving God, but we err. Praise is a release, not a weight to be lifted; delight in the Lord is a gift we give, not a burden to bear. Our job is not to work hard at loving God more, but to put ourselves in a position where we can know more of His love. It is God’s love for us that sparks our love for Him.

Our lives are difficult, our burdens many; we are earthbound and can’t see with human eyes the hope to which we are called. With the Psalmist we might ask, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”[iii] The answer to this heart cry is that loving God is not about us, or our circumstances, or the state of our hearts; it is about God and what He has required us to do. We resist opening our hearts because we want to make things right in our own strength, ahead of the vulnerability of allowing Him full access to all our hidden places. But in truth, failure to come into God’s presence with praise on our lips and delight in our hearts is disobedience that requires repentance. Diligent effort will not enable us to purge ourselves of sin; cleansing from sin is the exclusive domain of Christ.   

When we finally open our hearts to God without reservation, delight is the natural response. We don’t need to conjure emotion any more than we would have to pretend a smile in response to an adorable child, because the Lord is beautiful.  Human eyes could not bear His brilliance and beauty; we must view Him with the eyes of our hearts in the place we have learned to call imagination. Not our earthbound imagination run wild (which will gravitate to the thrill of the free fall of sin), but the Holy Spirit guided imagination that affords us the best view of heavenscapes physical eyes cannot perceive.

Ahead of it all, let’s fall in love with Jesus all over again.


And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
 Matthew 22:35-37

Week One
[i] Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 1 John 4:14-21, public domain.
[ii] Matthew 22:35-37
[iii] Psalm 137:4

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