Breaking Up With Convictions
Something happens to us and we respond, Newton calls it the 3rd Law of Physics. We also have our own emotional reactions to situations, experienced based reactions that are as natural to who we are as the biological DNA in our cells. Our emotion responses are automatic and often feel uncontrollable. At some point in our lives our bodies have decided that this response either worked or feels good, but often as we age it can betray us. Albert Einstein calls it insanity, to crazily repeat the same thing, but expect a different response. Today, while pulling my 1 year old in the wagon, she threw her baby Mickey out onto the street. 100 yards later I realized it was gone, turned around, and safely placed it back to her wide-eyed grinning arms. The next time I realized Mickey had escaped by her freakishly strong throwing arm, it was 80 yards later. Somewhere around the 8th time I got fed up and decided Mickey (and my sanity) was safer placed in my arms for the remainder of the walk. We do this same thing so often though – going back over the same issues in our lives at a nauseating rate.
Maybe this cycle resonates with you. The Holy Spirit convicts you of a certain sin in your life, usually after you’ve exhaustingly been trying to do it all on your own. You feel a small holy placed twinge in your heart. You promise to do better, then move on with your day. A few weeks later it happens again. Rinse and repeat.
Serve in a ministry at church
Reach out to that friend or neighbor
Calm your agitated spirit
Sometimes I just want to scream, “ENOUGH ALREADY, I AM DONE WITH ALL THE CONVICTION!” As I press the rewind button and review how its all unfolding I realize I am swiping up, dismissing the Holy Spirit, and falling back into the trap of comfortably doing it alone. In the Psalms David gives us a grave warning about this, “You refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash.” Ouch, I send God to voicemail so often my mailbox is full!
I think about all the blessings that He has waiting for me, right within my grasp, if only I would listen to that voice telling me to trust me and let’s do it together.
It’s plainly obvious which areas of our house we frequent the most. The once white stony speckles of our grout are a muddy-water hue at best. Over and over I walk the same paths, often having the inner dialogue about how much they need to be cleaned. We create these well-worn paths in our hearts too. The same issues arise time and time again, yet we fight them with same automatic responses we’ve developed. I know that I am not alone in this feeling of being trapped by the cycle of conviction and inaction, because Paul tells us of his own experience with it. “The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t’ do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” He goes on to give us hope in the midst of it all, “Thank God! The answer if in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 8:25a
The only reaction to our convictions that matters is the overwhelming realization that we are in need of a savior. “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17
Oh the sweetness that is mercy. “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2:4&5
Let’s be honest, I will joyfully play the same silly irritating game of baby-drop-it-mommy-pick-it-up a million times over, because my sweet girl loves it. And I know without a tiny goldfish crumb of doubt, my grout will probably never be restored to pearly white again, but I can honor my convictions and put the work in my heart for the joy of my salvation to be returned through a holy reaction. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:12
I can pursue listening to the Holy Spirit
I can pursue listening to the Holy Spirit
I can pursue breaking the cycle
I can pursue a holy reaction to my convictions
I can pursue repentance
I can pursue mercy
I can pursue a broken spirit
I can pursue surrendering it all
I can pursue God alone