I finally decided to write a response to an ongoing and long-going conversation with Quester in the comment section of his post: “Sizing up the fence.”
And since I haven’t been in the posting mood, I thought I could cheat by putting what I wrote here for you to read.
When you are done, I’d love you to comment about how God convicts you of sin!
An aside: Please know that I do appreciate all the prayers sent our way (see Still Dealing with Stuff). It’s a strange time in our lives. Not sure what God is up to. Feels like not much, but, then, that’s when all the action occurs… I’ll write more about it later…
Onto the post:
Hi, Been going through a rough time and just didn’t feel like posting, reading, or responding. But now I will.
I realized that what I was writing about conviction and guilt wasn’t “truth” in the absolute sense, but an attempt to put into words my own feelings and experiences. In fact, John 16:8-11 says that the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict of guilt. So, guilt is part of conviction.
What I was expressing was my own experience. In MY life, when I feel bad about myself and guilt and shame and crap and all that I expressed earlier, I know that it’s not from God. It arises from within, from training I likely received early in life and via the world.
God’s conviction, in MY life, is something different; it’s clean and quick. Like a sword piercing soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12-13). It isn’t about coming home to me or even being what God wants me to be (as you express), but it’s deeper, an instantaneous awareness of both how greviously I have sinned (a sense of the treason) and how much I have been relieved of the sin. It feels wholly God-oriented and also releasing. It’s usually not about me, but about Him, an understanding of how I’ve been completely self-centered, and, a release from that slavery. It’s a sense of the truth in the face of a lie I have held onto subconciously for years.
Sometimes it’s in little things and sometimes it’s momentous and turns my life in a new direction (like when I understood for the first time how proud I was to think I could be a “good” person or that God really had to be the Lord of my life or when I got “grace” and saw that I would never have to pile up good works to make God happy with me, but that He had taken care of all that and accepted me as I was on the basis of Christ’s life).
All of this is subjective and I am sure others experience it differently, so it is really hard to communicate to another. The other night in my small group we were talking about Hebrews 4 and how when we worry about, dissect, analyze, and focus on our sins, it’s like picking up a stick and flailing about. Joshua didn’t take the Promised Land with sticks (well, maybe trumpets, but not sticks!). When God deals with our sin, it’s with the Sword. It’s clean and quick and often very quiet, like an ick and an aha and a phew at the same time.