No, not that kind of convicted. I am referring to being convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Today I was driving down a highway, the morning was a little chilly and rainy. Not a hard, driving rain, but somewhere between a drizzle and rain. In places it was raining harder but most of the drive required me to use my windshield wipers to be able to see clearly. So, I am driving along, not really thinking too much about anything, listening to a Christian radio station, thinking about how the songs applied to me, what lessons I could learn from them. Some hard lessons that are less pleasant to think about, some were just uplifting songs. But, as I am driving I suddenly see flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I knew I wasn’t speeding as I had set the cruise control for the speed limit (FYI, sometimes that isn’t the case and I may on occasion set the cruise for 5 or 6 miles above the speed limit) and wasn’t driving carelessly so I really did not know why the sheriff was behind me. Maybe he needed to pass, so I signaled and pulled onto the shoulder to let him pass. NOPE, he didn’t pass, he pulled up behind me. I knew I wasn’t guilty of wrongdoing so I was a little confused but I did as I was taught, turned off the car, put the keys on the dash, rolled down the window and kept my hands on the wheel while he was walking up to me. I have a lot of friends that are in law enforcement and they all say if a person does that, they are less likely to give a ticket so I always do that. Plus, they say it makes them less uncomfortable about the stop as a lot of them, rightly so, are often a little nervous on routine stops since there have been a lot of police and such shot during what was thought to be a routine stop. He walked up and said good morning, then said, “Are you aware that when it is raining and you are using your wipers you are required to have your headlights on?” I said yes and that my vehicle had automatic lights so I had assumed they were on but that I would be sure to turn them on. He walked to the front, I turned them on and he came back to the window and said, “Well, they are on now. I can understand how you might think they would be on if they are automatic. Just be sure that you turn them on when using your wipers. I really would hate if someone couldn’t see you and hit you.” I thanked him, assured him that I would be careful to turn on the headlights in the future when weather was like it was today and told him to be careful and to have a good day. He wished me a good day and started back to his vehicle.
The interaction only took a few minutes and after it was over, when I was back on the road I thought about how, even though I was certain I wasn’t doing anything wrong I got nervous. Heart beating a little faster than normal, mouth felt a little dry. And, for no reason I could think of either. But, I felt like I must have been guilty, I felt convicted in a way. Well, that got me to thinking about how at times I have felt convicted by the Holy Spirit, perhaps while in church listening to a sermon, when I read something in the Bible or Christian literature or when the Lord spoke to my heart about things.
I saw this on another blog the other day and it spoke to me. Just like the sheriff today, he didn’t stop me to give me a ticket or do me harm, he stopped me to help me improve by being safer while driving. God does it so I see where I am not doing as He wants, and so I can make the changes I need to make to serve Him as He wants me to serve. Well, thinking about the times God has put conviction about something on my heart, and believe me, it has happened a lot, I thought about how some people will get angry about something a pastor says in his sermon because it makes the person feel convicted. They say things like the pastor has no right to attack them in that manner or they won’t go to a church where they are being preached at when there are others that are worse. Some people will quit going to a certain church because of the conviction rather than taking it as a lesson from God. I have felt convicted about things a pastor preached about, I have gotten angry with the pastor for “preaching at me” in front of the rest of the church. Except, the pastor wasn’t preaching at me, and at times had no knowledge of my life or the sin for which I was now feeling convicted. He was preaching a message that God had laid upon him. Now, I know God will do that to put conviction onto a person and while the pastor may not have known the situation I was dealing with at the time, God sure did, and He knew I needed reminded about it. I shouldn’t be angry at the pastor for preaching what God told him to preach about. Whether I thank the pastor or not, it was a needed message at the time and God was using the pastor to tell me that I needed to address this or that issue in my life. And, one should realize that God doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, He does it so we can correct wrongs and do as He wants us to do.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16
I have received messages from people, some I know, some I don’t, but regardless of that, things I had written obviously made them feel convicted as they were pretty hateful in their words, criticizing me for trying to make them feel guilty. Now, if I don’t know a person its clear that I wouldn’t know anything about why they should feel guilty about what I say and those I know that have done so have were not those to whom I was referring when I described different situations, yet they obviously felt guilty. If one feels guilty about something, rather than lash out at the one whose words cause that feeling, perhaps all those that feel like that should take time to talk to God and ask Him why they feel that way and see what they feel He wants them to do. Harassing the pastor, other writers or anyone else, or leaving a church to find a different one when one comes under conviction about something is obviously not the answer. Those who change churches trying to avoid conviction will find that God is there at the new church as well and sooner or later, God will use the pastor at the new church to preach a message that will cause conviction to return. If one quits church completely after coming under conviction about something won’t change things and God will use someone or something else to remind a person about things. Avoiding the truth, avoiding going to God about the conviction won’t help, it will still be there. Seeking God’s guidance is the answer. CHRIST is the answer.
I know this is true, the Holy Spirit will use anyone or anything when He is trying to speak to a person about something. I have tried to “dodge God” by not going to church, trying to justify my actions to lessen the conviction, but it never helped. I have gotten upset and angry with those God was using to tell me of my shortcomings. That did not change the truth, it didn’t correct my wrong behavior. It actually increased it by feeling as angry at those who were being used to try to help me. Only spending time praying, talking to God, confessing my sins and changing my behavior was I able to properly address the convictions.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Yes, God places us under conviction at times but it is to help us improve our walk with Him. Don’t hate the messenger, don’t run from the message, instead listen to what is said, correct what is wrong in your life and enjoy the benefits of a closer walk with Christ.
Lord, I thank You for all the effort to which you went to teach me the truth and bring me back to You. I praise You for all You are and for having the mercy, grace and forgiveness I needed, but did not deserve. I pray in the name of Jesus that You continue to work in me and help me improve. Help me remember that when you convict me it isn’t to shame me or make me feel bad, but to help me improve. I ask that You help all of us understand that fact and that hiding from the short comings by running from the truth doesn’t change the situation and keeps us from enjoying all the blessings You have for us. Draw us all closer and teach us the truth. Thank You Lord for the salvation You gave me and for the sacrifice Your Son made to make it possible.
Thank you all for your time. Have a blessed day and try to be a blessing to someone else today as well.