The Bible is convicting.
I think we start to believe a falsehood over time that we are always to leave our time in God’s Word feeling encouraged, equipped, overjoyed. While these experiences and moments in God’s Word do take place, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Throughout the last couple years, I keep turning to the same well-known verse to remind me of this fact.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, – 2 Timothy 3:16
Paul is describing to his mentee, Timothy, the role of God’s Word in the life of a follower of Jesus.
Notice how it includes rebuking and correcting! Now, when I’ve been corrected and rebuked throughout my life, it doesn’t normally come with a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. So, there will be times where we go to God’s Word and get smacked in the face with conviction, with the need for repentance and turning from our sins.
This has been happening to me today.
There’s an aspect of conviction, of repentance, that I forget sometimes still. It’s what blew me away during my time in God’s Word this afternoon.
It’s the following truth.
God is with me in the midst of conviction.
Do you feel like God is distant in the midst of you recognizing your sin? When the Bible confronts your anger, lust, pride, gossip habits, fear, worry, hate, do you feel abandoned, condemned, less-than?
That is the enemy’s way of stealing what is truly a gift, the process of repentance, and replacing it with self-loathing.
Don’t give into his tricks.
God is with you in the midst of conviction.
This came out of a very unfamiliar passage for me, Haggai chapter one.
In the first chapter of Haggai, the Lord speaks through the prophet Haggai to call the people to repentance (which is really what all prophets in the Bible were called to do).
The reason for this prophetic word of repentance is because the people of God were building houses for themselves while the Lord’s house laid in ruins.
Side Note: I’m sure churches have used this passage to tell people to contribute financially to building plans. No. That’s not what this is about at all. According to Acts 17:24-25, God doesn’t dwell in our modern churches anyway. So, don’t fall for that baloney.
After this convicting word from the Lord, one that likely didn’t bring much happy feelings for the people, there is a powerful verse. Let’s look together at what happens when Haggai is done bringing this word.
Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. – Haggai 1:12-13
That’s some good stuff right there.
Side Note: I will likely end up naming my firstborn son Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel Roach has a nice ring to it. I’ll see if I can convince Jamie.
God hasn’t permanently abandoned the people to their sin.
God hasn’t abandoned you to your sin forever.
Now, Scripture does make it pretty clear that there are times in our lives where God lets us pursue the sins we keep choosing over Him until we see that they are empty.
But when conviction comes to you, that’s a wonderful thing!
It means that the Spirit of God is moving in your heart!
When the conviction comes, remember that God is near. That God is drawing you out of your sin and into a renewed relationship with Him. If conviction never comes into your walk with Christ, beware. You likely have strayed. I’m not saying that you need to be convicted every day you read God’s Word. By no means. But a lifestyle devoid of conviction is likely a lifestyle that is hardened to God’s Word.
Let’s go back to Haggai.
After this profound statement from Haggai, we see that God truly is with them, truly is moving after this word of conviction. In verse 14, we see this:
So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, – Haggai 1:14
God is moving in the hearts of the leaders of God’s people, as well as each individual follower of God as well!
What we see here then in this:
God brings conviction, is present in conviction, and gives them the ability to respond to this conviction.
Have you ever felt convicted over your sin and then set out on your own to change?
How did that work for you?
If you’re like me, you probably were repenting over and confessing the same sins not too long after this.
God is present in our conviction, but He also provides for us the grace and strength necessary to respond to that conviction.
Instead of trying to modify your behavior, lay your heart bare before the Lord. Let Him slowly but assuredly cleanse your heart of that which leads to the sin in your life.
Also, rely on your brothers and sisters in Christ! None of us are strong enough to resist sin on our own!
Man, this one really put the rambling in Roach Ramblings.
I hope you see the truth of God’s Word!
You haven’t been abandoned or forsaken in your conviction!
He is with you and will give you the strength to move forward!
In His Name,