Have you ever tried to read chapter 40 of Ezekiel? No?
Ok, yes I have. I usually get about as far as verse 5 before I start becoming wary. By verse 7 I'm staring in confusion, and around verse 9 (specifically when I see the word 'jambs,' which makes me think of Jamba juice...and I know that's not *supposed* to be where my mind is going) I skip ahead a couple chapters.
Besides the complete insanity of trying to wrap your brain around holy architecture...the idea of a bronze-looking dude with a measuring stick is mad intimidating.
I mean...aren't we always worried about how we're measuring up? Especially when you find yourself...oh, I don't know...skipping chapters of the Book you are trying to base your life on?
Here's the thing...Jesus is not holding out a ruler, and neither is the Holy Spirit.
This is literally STILL something I have to tell myself every moment. When we accepted Christ and asked the Holy Spirit to take up residence, He overflowed our spiritual measuring cup.
We often make the distinction between conviction and condemnation to judge whether or not a feeling or thought we have is of the Holy Spirit. We tell ourselves the Holy Spirit convicts, and the enemy condemns.
You know what, though? I don't know about you, but that word 'convict' can still be pretty scary for someone like me. After all, convict (in our time) means to be found guilty of a crime.
We say the Holy Spirit convicts because of John 16:7-11, which says:
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."Sounds a little intimidating, right? But you know what? The 'ruler' of this world is not measuring us, as Christians.
Ready to put away the spiritual ruler?
"I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." John 17:14The word 'world' is the Greek word 'kosmos' (used to denote 'earth') and it is the same word used in both verses.
As Christians, we are not of this world.
The Holy Spirit, for us, is not the judge and jury. It isn't THAT kind of conviction. Our sin was already nailed to the cross - dead and gone. Even whatever sin you're dealing with at this very moment.
You will overcome it, because you are of Christ. Because He gave authority that your sin was overcome. Knowing that your sin was already taken care of should make it easier to overcome - not harder.
That muck you are wading in is not holy conviction - it is enemy quicksand.
So what kind of conviction does the Holy Spirit bring to believers?
Beautiful, loving reminders - not that we are sinners, but that we have been saved by grace.
The Holy Spirit is our Comforter (The Greek parakletos; John 14:26, John 15:26).
He is our Counselor and Helper (Isaiah 11:2, John 14:16).
He is our Seal, our guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:22).
He is our Guide (John 16:13).
He is our Intercessor (Romans 18:26).
The Holy Spirit is a LOT of things...but He isn't standing next to you holding out the measuring tape. He isn't worried that you are still growing in Christ - He's there to help you grow.
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ - stand up tall with your heels to the jamb (see what I did there? haha) but realize you are not being measured.
You're being supported.