As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Did you know that when the Lord rebukes, corrects, or punishes us, it is out of love?
The Lord is working to keep us from going forward in a path that will destroy us. He does this because He loves us. That, my friends, is why we should be grateful when we feel conviction over sin in our life. Conviction is a tool the Lord uses to reach our hearts, to warn us that we are in the wrong path, and to convince us that we need to repent and seek not only His forgiveness but His help.
When we feel convicted, there is a purpose behind it. First off, we need to repent of what we are being convicted over. The Lord helped me to understand this when I was still a little child. I dreamed I was kneeling down in prayer and the Lord appeared in the room. He spoke this to me: “Sara, if you do something wrong, just tell Me.”
That is the heart of repentance. When we do something wrong, as soon as we know it is wrong, we need to go to Him and tell Him. We shouldn’t do like Adam and Eve, who fled from the Lord’s voice in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). Rather, we should run to Him and be open with Him. He convicts us so we will come to Him.
For many of us, myself included, there are times when there is something specific we are struggling with. We know it is wrong, but we can’t seem to get free from it. We get embarrassed and frustrated that we have to go to the Lord over and over again for the same thing – but we need to remember that it is the Devil reminding us of how many times we have already repented, whispering to us that we might as well give up, or hinting to us that maybe it isn’t a sin after all.
When we fall, the Lord gives us the power to get up again. If we fall one hundred times in a single day, then that power is present to help us get up one hundred times in a day. If we have to repent one hundred times in a day, then let us go to Jesus one hundred times – but let us never stop and accept sin as part of our life.
Here is the neat part: Jesus Christ gained for us victory over sin. That victory may not come at once, and there may be some areas we struggle with longer than others, but we are promised victory. We can’t experience that victory, however, if we stop going to Him when we sin.
The enemy of our souls would like nothing better than for us to lay helplessly in our sin, bewailing our failure and accepting sin as part of our lives. Jesus, however, convicts our hearts of sin so that we will not just lay down in our sin but stand up and reach out to Him. He will pull us up, clean us off, and help us get going again.
When a baby is learning how to walk, how many times does it fall? How many times does it fail? Do we get angry with it when it falls? No, our reaction is to help it up and encourage it to try again. That, my friends, is what Jesus is telling us in this Scripture.
We are struggling, we are falling, but we refuse to accept defeat because Jesus Christ won for us victory of every type of sin. We take our failures to Him, face them, acknowledge them, ask for forgiveness, and then walk on.
What if we enjoy the sin that we keep falling into? The Lord will help us with that, too. First, we need to be completely honest with Him about it – He already knows. Then we need to ask Him to help us change our mind about it. That is part of the meaning of repentance – a change of mind. Ask Him to help us to be willing to reject it, to see it through His eyes. Again, it may take time but if we keep going to Jesus, He will give us the victory.
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.