Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Gift of Conviction

Has it been a while since you've really felt convicted of sin? Specific sin. Personal sin. Ugly sin.

The old saying goes of a Christian, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven." True enough. And I am eternally grateful that in the Gospel there is held out a promise of complete forgiveness -- once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that sinners may be reconciled to God.

But there are times when the forgiven person grieves God and brings pain to himself and others because of wrong choices, breaking God's commandments, and laziness in the battle with the ever-present indwelling sin. And sometimes the feeling of having done wrong is not there. We don't break down and cry; we don't feel that our sin is rebellion toward God; we don't have a vision of our God as a consuming fire of holiness.

But bless God for those times when we feel His grief, our wretchedness, and the hypocrisy. Those times when we experience God searching the heart and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit who "convict[s] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." (Jn 16:8). And if God so chooses to use other people to bring that awareness about, then bless Him too.

If God brings conviction into your life, accept it as a gift. Treat it like news from a doctor that you have a terrible, potentially deadly ailment, but one that can be treated. True conviction is a searchlight of the heart. Let it show you the problem and convince you to get help from God before it is too late.

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