The last two weeks have got me thinking about conviction. We have been thinking together over the last two Sundays about how we view God’s course corrections. We have talked about the joy that Paul was sharing with the church in Corinth. I am not sure that is the word we would use. I think the most universal word is squirm!
What makes you squirm? Does discussing money at church make you squirm? How about political issues? Are there specific passages or specific sins that make you squirm? Here is an even more probing question: have you ever thought about what your squirming looks like?
Let me share a few observations. I have seen people squirm under conviction by becoming angry and moody. I’ve seen people squirm under conviction by becoming sullen and withdrawn. I’ve seen others lash out at the person who carried the message, and I have seen some lash out at innocent bystanders. I’ve even seen folks who wouldn’t admit that they were under conviction, but their feelings of guilt would come out in their speech as they tried to essentially argue with God as they were talking with others around them. It is something, watching people squirm under conviction. We squirm in so many ways.
Yet, the most amazing squirming I’ve seen (and also the rarest) is the person who squirms with excitement because God is showing them a new area in which they can grow. It is amazing because they look both happy and sad at the same time. They are happy because God is speaking and they are learning. They are sad because they missed something that they could grow in and they know it will be a bit of a struggle to change. I say that it is rare because I don’t see it much. Much more often I see us squirm as if Jesus is performing a tooth extraction and we are holing onto the tooth for all we are worth.
Consider what God’s man, Paul said when commented on his strong correction of the church in Corinth:
11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.2 Corinthians 7:11
Were the Corinthians sorry? Yes, they had what Paul called “godly sorrow.” Yet, they didn’t just stay there. They embraced with zeal the good word that Paul gave to them. They understood why God corrected them – for their good! Jesus gave this picture of how God molds us for our good:
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (emphasis added)John 15:1-2
So, the good response to God’s teaching, correcting, and molding us is to begin from the place that God works in us for our good. He works in us to bless, to build, and to make us more like we were designed to be – to be like His Son!
We know that God’s way is the way of life. We know that He wants our good. If that is so, then why do we seem to squirm so uncomfortably under His teaching? Wouldn’t it be so much better if we would simply say yes to Him? His character is trustworthy. His love for us is clear. Will we trust that as we hear from His Word?
What causes you to squirm? How do you squirm? Is joy your response when God speaks?
Something to think about,