Discerning the Difference Between the Conviction of the Holy Spirit and Condemnation of the Enemy

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Pixabay cloud-363075_640It is important for those of us who are born again Christians, to know that there is a huge difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the enemy of our faith. It can affect how we approach life.

Please, let there be no confusion. The Holy Spirit works to convict us to push away from the ensnarement of sin (doing that which is wrong) and towards God in freedom. The condemning spirit of the enemy of our faith works to push us away from God. This is done in shame and condemnation, so we are more prone in hopelessness, to continue to do what we should NOT.

Please Note:

“There are two feelings we can experience after we’ve sinned. One is conviction and the other is condemnation. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit, prompting us to confess and be restored to fellowship so God can continue to bless us. Its purpose is to draw us closer to God. Condemnation is from Satan, trying to convince us that we’re no good, and that God will never forgive us. It’s purpose is to keep us away from God by making us feel guilty.

“As soon as we confess our sins, we’re forgiven and the sin is forgotten as God immediately purifies us from all unrighteousness (See: 1 John 1:9). Any bad feelings we have after that are feelings of guilt that come from Satan.

“So if you’re being drawn closer to God, you’re feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But if you feel like hiding from God and begin to doubt His love for you, you’re feeling condemnation from the devil. Rebuke those feelings in the name of Jesus. Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you” (see: James 4:7-10). (Jack Kelley, of Grace Thru Faith Ministries)


“There is a simple test to see if you experiencing condemnation by the enemy or gentle conviction by the Holy Spirit. Guilt and/or shame will draw you further away from the Lord deeper into sin. Conviction is the Holy Spirit nudging us to confess and turn from the sin as He provides the power to overcome” (See: Romans 2:4; Romans 8:31-39; Philippians 4:13; Luke 22:31-32). (Robin Samson of Heart of Wisdom.com)

To help you further to discern the difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the devil, we are going to share with you additional principles and scriptural references that we believe will empower you in your spiritual life, your personal life, as well as your married life.

Why is this relevant to marriage? It is relevant because the condemning method of the enemy of our faith works to draw us away from the healthy thinking and actions that God wants us to embrace. And when that happens our marriages are in peril of being weakened and destroyed. When we draw towards God, we have the power of the Holy Spirit working within us to do what is good, noble, right and pure.

The following is a short study of what the Bible tells us about the character of God and the character of enemy of our faith. We pray it will inspire you to dig deeper into studying the Bible so you will rightly discern what is Truth both now and in the future.

1. Tone of the enemy of our faith:

Accusing, nagging —it’s a mocking voice generating fear and shame causing confusion, projecting a sense of rejection and ministering questions like: “Has God indeed said?” He’s the father of lies (see: John 8:44). He’s deceitful, pretending to know what’s best for you.


Loving voice of our Father, imploring, beseeching and urging our return to Him …as we’re told in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy laden…” And in John 12:32 where Jesus says, “…I will draw all men to myself.”

2. The enemy of our faith’s messages are vague and general:

He generates a blanketing, choking sense of general guilt, as though everything is wrong and there’s no one action you can really take to overcome. Often a sense of complete hopelessness and weakness prevails. The enemy attacks you in general. You can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. You feel helpless and hopeless focusing on half-truths.


The Spirit says, “Fix this one thing and you’ll be free.” He commands you to take one specific action — to make a choice of your will. “And you must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or deliver because they’re futile. For the Lord will not abandon His people” (1 Samuel 12:21-22). The conviction of the Spirit is specific to the sin. The Spirit defends you against your over-sensitive conscience. He draws you to God.

3. Discouragement is the message of the enemy of our faith:

He centers his attack on you as a person and cuts your self-image to ribbons. He pushes to agitate and provokes you to be disobedient to God (see: 1 Chronicles 21:1) and tempts you in areas of weakness. The enemy tells you that you are weak and not one of God’s chosen ones. He tries to ruin you without cause (see: Job 2:3).

He tries to deceive (see: Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelations 12:9). Also, he continually accuses you before God (see: Revelations 12:10; Revelations 20:3). The enemy is impatient and feeds anxious feelings.

He schemes against you sending discouragement as flaming missiles (see: Ephesians 6:16). He tries to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord (see: Acts 13:10).


He encourages you to rely on God’s power, not on your own righteousness or strength (see: 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Chronicles 20:15; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 23; Psalm 37:5-7; Proverbs 3:24-26). The Holy Spirit encourages you to be anxious for nothing and most times doesn’t give a deadline. He comforts and encourages the broken hearted and proclaims liberty for the captives (see: Isaiah 61:1). He even makes intercession for you (see: Romans 8:26).

4. “Remember all the past” says the enemy:

The devil replays the videos of your past memories of sin and guilt and shame. He draws up accounts of your past sins, failures and offenses that are under the blood.


The Holy Spirit tells you your sin is forgotten, cleansed, removed, covered and put away, never to be held against you. (see: John 1:29; Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:7-9; Psalm 51:7; Micah 7:19; Hebrews 10:17; Philippians 3:13; Matthew 12:31; Psalm 34:7-8)

5. The message of the enemy is rejection as by the holiness of God:

He disguises himself as an agent of holiness and an angel of light (see: 2 Corinthians 11:14). He produces the feeling that God has rejected you as unworthy and unholy. Satan speaks of God as your judge and you as a miserable sinner. He emphasizes “good works” instead of God’s grace. The message is to “do, do, do” and yet you can never “do” enough to “measure up.”


There is a pull of attraction towards God. He generates in you an unexpected kindness, love, long-suffering, forgiveness and new beginning with God’s help. The Holy Spirit speaks of your permanent relationship with God, drawing you to the Son of your Father (see: Joshua 1:8-9). The emphasis is to experience and live in God’s grace and forgiveness! He desires all men to be saved to come to the knowledge of truth (see: 1 Timothy 2:4).

6. The enemy brings negative scriptures to mind:

As Shakespeare said, “The devil knows how to quote scripture to his purpose!” Satan threatens judgment and says, “Grace is denied because you didn’t fulfill the conditions!”  He uses the Law against you to justify yourself and rely on your own righteousness (see: Romans 10:3; Galatians 2:16). He comes and sometimes takes away the word which has been sown (see: Mark 4:15).


(See: John 14:26.) He speaks of the unchanging nature of God and of His steadfast love towards us. He confirms that God remains faithful to His covenant (see 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 10:23) even when we prove faithless for a time (see: 1 John 3:20). The Spirit reassures us that there is no law that is effective against those who rely on Christ’s work (see: Colossians 2:14, Psalm 25:8-14; Psalm 40:1-5). He assures us that He is our help and strength (see: Psalm 121 and Psalm 146).

7. The enemy works to isolate you:

Suggestions are sown that cause you to withdraw from other Christians and works on you to think that they reject you. In your isolation, you then feel lonely, hurt, unworthy, rejected by others and angry (see: 2 Corinthians 4:4). He works to divide you from others.


The Spirit sends others to minister to you in love — thus you learn to accept other’s words of encouragement and to appreciate one another and their ministry to you (see: 1 John 1:3; Hebrews 12:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25). He sends others to open your eyes to turn from darkness to light so you may receive forgiveness (see: Acts 26:18). He works to unite us in love with other believers (see Luke 22:31-32).

8. The enemy of our faith emphasizes feelings:

He tells you that the way you feel is the way things really are, even if facts differ (i.e. feelings are truth!). Your feelings of guilt, despair, hopelessness and doubt of God’s love for you are made to seem real. He encourages feelings of frustration at God’s unfairness and partiality and focuses on half-truths to cajole and control you and acts as a stumbling block to set your mind on your interests above God’s.


Feelings will follow faith in these facts! The Holy Spirit gives you correct doctrine and the whole truth. Learn your theology to avoid being fooled by Satan (see: Romans 16:19). The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth to move, influence and inspire you (see: John 16:13; Matthew 10:26-28; Psalm 19; John 8:45). He will also guide you to set your mind on God’s interest instead of man’s interests (see: Matthew 16:23; Colossians 3:1-2).

9. The attack of the enemy is destructive and demoralizing:

The object is to get you to curse God to his face (see: Job 2:5). He fills your heart to lie (see: Acts 5:3). He encourages selfish ambition, arrogance, lying, bitterness, jealousy and disorder (see: James 3:13-16).


He disciplines as a loving Heavenly Father (see: Proverbs 3:11-12; Job 5:17; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:6-11). His wisdom is pure then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy, and unwavering without hypocrisy (see: James 3:17).

10. The Devil accuses:

He accuses you of having committed the unpardonable sin (see: Zechariah 3:1). He’s quick to judge and quick to accuse (see: Revelation 12:10).


He states the fact that it is Christ who saved you and continues to keep you (see: 2 Chronicles 34:27-28; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103.8-13; John 3:17). He reminds you that God is patient and long-suffering (see: Numbers 14:18; Isaiah 30:18).


What is the purpose of the enemy of our faith in accusing and condemning us? It is to draw us away from God and to render us helpless to ourselves and to others! What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit convicting us? It is to draw us to God and to each other and to help us to be all we can be!

The Enemy:

•  Speaks in half-truths
 Pushes, agitates
Emphasizes: “Do, do do…”
– Divides people
Encourages our willfulness against God’s ways
– Tells us we are inadequate
Encourages complaining


•  Is about the whole truth
– Wants us to be anxious for nothing
Emphasizes: “Be, be, be…”
– Unites people
Emphasizes the will of our Heavenly Father
 Empowers us
Encourages contentment

The emphasis is that we’re to study all that God is in the Bible. We need to keep in mind that God is strong and He does not tolerate sin. He is our judge, but He is a fair judge who punishes and disciplines us, always wanting to draw us to Himself  —not push us away from Himself. The devil’s purpose is to pull us away from God and his people. God is straightforward and direct. The enemy is sneaky.

As you go with God, you will push away that which you should release and embrace that which you should hold onto through his guidance —with His strength.

This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International. It is a compilation of points put together after years of personal study of scripture, sermons heard, and insights given through the years from many others who have also studied this subject.

— ALSO —

Below are several web site links to articles giving additional insight into this subject that we pray will help you further as you read:





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113 responses to “Discerning the Difference Between the Conviction of the Holy Spirit and Condemnation of the Enemy

  1. Hello, My name is Troy and I am a Christian man and I have stumbled and my sin was that I was commenting on this article a Christian article and I responded to this woman’s comment and she is also a Christian and the comment I typed -I can’t fully remember what I said to her but vague details but she seemed to be very offended by it and I never meant for that to happen. At that moment I felt really low, which I deserve for offending her.

    So I wrote back to her and I sincerely apologized and asked for her forgiveness and even sent her a friend request on facebook looking to make amends but she ignored me. I was very sorry for this. I know that THE HOLY SPIRIT had me under heavy conviction on my knees for I was crying my eyes out saying to God I was very sorry for offending this lady. I was on my knees and I REPENTED AND CONFESSED BEFORE GOD AND ASKED FOR HIS FORGIVENESS and I know God forgave me because He always forgives if we confess our sins. I am very grateful for the Holy Spirit who convicts us when we do wrong. I was praying over the last year that God would reveal any sin I was not aware of and I guess He did. Hit me like a hammer. I KNOW HE FORGIVES ME BUT THIS LINGERING GUILT IS ANNOYING.


    1. Praise God He is ministering to your heart in this freeing way! We serve a good, good God who loves us, wants to continually help us, and yes, He convicts us when we do what is wrong, but only to bring us back into living as we should and to be able to fellowship with us. The enemy seeks to condemn, kill, and destroy. Our God is a redeemer! Thank you for encouraging us as you have by writing what you did. We are indeed blessed!

  3. Thank you very much for this article, I’ve been constantly fighting thoughts in my mind and had no way to get out until I read this. Thank you. To God be the Glory!!

    1. We thank God He led you to this article and is using it in your life to help you fight against the enemy of our faith. God always works to try to draw us nearer to Him. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

  4. Hi. I’m hoping you can help me with my confusion. I can’t tell if I’m being convicted by both the Holy Spirit and the author of lies. I have been trying to quit nicotine gum for a couple of years; this sin seems to be my biggest focus, trying to stop it. While also wondering if a prophesy given to me by who I thought was the Holy Spirit, is actually a false one. Anyway I decided in January that the prophesy was false and I’m ashamed to say I called the Holy Spirit a liar.

    Well after I called Him that I have experienced all kinds of physical pains. They are starting to subside but now when I try to hear from the Holy Spirit I get really confused with what I’m supposed to be doing. Is it that I offended the Holy Spirit so He doesn’t want to talk to me anymore? Is the gum chewing the reason I’m confused? When I try to quit, I get more pains. I’m utterly confused, I hope you can help me. Thank you kindly.

    1. Monica, I’m not sure. This sounds more like demonic oppression, but I’m not sure. Why do you think that it’s a sin to chew nicotine gum? And why do you focus on it so much? I’m not convinced that God is convicting you of this. Something else is going on here. What I do believe is that God wants you to give your whole heart to Him. He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. When you focus more on things than on building a relationship with Him, it’s only natural that you will be confused.

      We’re told in the Bible (in 1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is something you can be sure of, and know. God does not lie. He WILL forgive you as you confess and ask for forgiveness. I wholeheartedly recommend that you go to the following page and go in and read what the linked articles have for you there: https://marriagemissions.com/about-us-2/seeking-more/. I believe God will show you as you read through all of this that He is a God who loves you and wants to embrace you, rather than hurt you and reject you. Pray, confess and then ask God for forgiveness for anything you have done wrong that comes to mind, and then focus on God’s love for you. Focus on the good of God, and accept that He will forgive you as you lean into Him.

      Again, please read through those linked articles, and see how God speaks truth to your heart. You can even “chat” with someone by going into one of those links to work through some of the additional questions you will have. By doing these things I believe you will work through the doubt storms you are going through on this whole matter. And may God give you His peace as you do!