Friday, February 21, 2014

Dealing With Conviction & Correction

Throughout our lives we are going to deal with sin and the correction that comes with it. If you have put yourself in a position for continued growth in Christ (which you should!) you are going to experience the valley's and peaks of life. We are not perfect, we will sin, and God (being our perfect Father) will discipline us. Dealing with the heavy conviction and correction is a hard pill to swallow. It means letting go of pride, admitting a mistake, moving forward, celebrating growth, and praising God for His abundant grace.

By request of my pastor (who wanted a plot diagram of the book of Job) I've been studying this book for the last 2 weeks, in fact, it has consumed my life and the way I view it. As a result I've been forced to deal with conviction and correction in my own life. Here's a tiny explanation: I do not believe in coincidence. I believe in God's sovereignty. It was no coincidence that He shed light on the purpose, the climax, the conflicts, or on Job's self-righteous attitude during this very moment in my life. The process of sanctification is slow, laborious, difficult, joyful, and amazing all at once!

I'm nervous and excited to share this post. I've grown so much as a result of studying the book of Job, but by sharing this, it also sheds some light on my own stupid mistakes.

How to Deal with Conviction & Correction!
  • Understand that with conviction comes growth. Once you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you were sealed with the Holy Spirit who is your Helper until the day you die. He will convict you, He will reveal God's Word to you, He will help you grow in the likeness of Christ. Consider this journey as your road to God, although the path is narrow and difficult, it will be full of twists and turns, and thankfully, the end result is the same: home with Jesus Christ. The day you strive for is the day your sanctification is complete; and that day is your end here on earth and the beginning of an eternity with your heavenly Father. Do not despise growth, growth simply means you are becoming Christ-like, ready to meet Him face to face, knowing you'll know Him when that day comes!
  • Let go of your pride. This act, I believe is the hardest. It requires humility in the midst of heaviness and embarrassment. The first thing we want to do as we're being convicted and corrected is to explain why as we try to uphold an ounce of dignity. Let that go! Simply shut up, say your sorry, accept the growth, praise God for His grace, and move on!
  • Shut up & Listen. This goes hand in hand with letting go of your pride. Like Job, the first thing we want to do is explain ourselves. Like Job, we want to defend our actions, we want to speak, we want others to listen to our discourse, we want to ask God why, we want to ask God, "WHERE ARE YOU?" we want God to answer us, to hear OUR account. Like Job, we need to answer this tough question God asks him in 40:2 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." and Job's reply in verses 4-5 [which I believe is the climax of the entire book because Job exhibits humility, recognizes God's sovereignty, and learns that he simply needs to "stop and consider the wondrous works of God" (Elihu's advice in 37:14)], "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further." This is exactly what we need to do: stop, consider God's Sovereign hand in our lives, lay your hand on your mouth (aka shut up), and listen.
  • Praise God for His wondrous works and His abundant grace. I believe the entire purpose of the book of Job is Elihu's advice in 37:14 to "stop and consider the wondrous works of God" because once we praise God for what He has done in our lives we can rest in His abundant grace, let Him do His work, know that His plans will not be thwarted, and that He deserves all the glory. Job started out praising God in the midst of extreme heartache, but after months of enduring sickness beyond our comprehension, he gave in to complaining and even questioning God, "WHY?!" Elihu rebuked Job and told Him to "consider the wondrous works of God" and when you read Job 36 through 41 you will see how great and powerful and mighty God is. You will be reminded that "Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine." (42:11) You will understand that you may not entirely understand GOD's purpose, but you can praise Him when He gives AND when He takes away. You can praise Him in conviction and learning and growth and discipline, because you are engulfed in His abundant grace.
  • Do not justify, ask for forgiveness, and move on. In the midst of correction I want to justify my actions (like Job), so much so that my husband finally told me to stop talking (Like Elihu)! Shut up, listen, accept the growth taking place in your heart, ask for forgiveness and move on. If you cannot let go of your sin, how can you rest in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross? If you don't forget your sin, you are minimizing what Jesus Christ did on the cross! HE TOOK GOD'S WRATH ON THAT DAY FOR YOUR SIN, IT WAS LAID AT THE CROSS, FORGOTTEN, BLOTTED OUT WITH HIS BLOOD. Who are you to remember it? (Like Job, repent, move on and praise God for what you learned!)
One of the ways I praised God this week is in this beautiful song Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes, focus on these lyrics: "You are working in our waiting, sanctifying uswhen beyond our understanding, you're teaching us to trust. Your plans are still to prosper, you've not forgotten us, you're with us in the fire and the floodFaithful forever. Perfect in love. You are sovereign over us. You are wisdom unimagined, who could understand your ways. Reigning high above the heavens, reaching down in endless grace. You're the lifter of the lowly. Compassionate and kind. You surround and You uphold me. Your promises are my delight. ... Even what the enemy means for evil you turn it for our good and for your glory. Even in the valley you are faithful, you are working for our good and for your glory."
Even in the fire, He is sovereign. In the growth, He is sovereign. In the conviction and correction, He is sovereign over us. Beautiful.

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