A man I know has flipped flopped for years between digging deep into the Bible for seasons and then tossing it out of his mind and life for other seasons, his life in those seasons indicative of whether he was in a season of immersing Himself in the Bible or not. I could never understand why he would turn away from the Bible at times when his life was so rich and vibrant and fulfilling when he was studying God’s Word. His answer was plain and clear.
“The Bible cuts me up,” the man told me. In other words, he was getting convicted of his sin when he studied God’s Word. So in the seasons he was holding onto his sin for dear life, he stayed away from the Bible to stay away from God’s conviction. The trouble was that without God’s conviction, and without God’s mercy and God’s strength to walk in God’s ways, the man was utterly miserable.
Jesus Christ, who is God’s Word made flesh, made a powerful statement when He said that the people had no “cloke” for their sin because He had come and spoken to them. At least one Bible translation uses the word “excuse” instead of cloke. The bottom line is that once the people saw and heard Jesus, they were convicted of their sin. They could no longer hide. They had heard the truth. They knew what they were doing was wrong. And they could not pretend their sin did not exist. Their sin had become visible in the light of Jesus Christ.
While your flesh might want to run in the other direction of God and the Bible to avoid the conviction of the Lord, what you may not realize is that His conviction and chastening are actually a blessing. Why? Because God will forgive the sins of those who repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we would not have to.
Yes, conviction is hard. Very hard. But it is that conviction which leads to godly sorrow, and that godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to receiving God’s great mercy. It is in God’s light, and in His forgiveness, that we find our freedom and learn how to walk with the Lord – in His ways, not our own.
If you are running from the Lord, or if you are staying away from studying God’s Word, or both, I encourage you to turn and run to Him, run to His Word, accept His conviction, and thank God that in His mercy He uses His conviction to lead you with His loving kindness to return to Him.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. John 15:22 KJV
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV