“This [self-] examination, however, should be peaceful and tranquil, and we should depend on God for the discovery and knowledge of our sins, rather than on the diligence of our own scrutiny.”- John Ortberg
“He [Sampson] awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.”- Judges 16:20
John Ortberg concludes Chapter 14 of The Me I Want to Be as he talks about recognizing the “Ministry of Conviction.” First, Pastor Ortberg stresses that conviction is not (a) simply the same thing as ‘getting caught’ or (b) the same thing as fear of punishment. Both a and b result from external pressure.
Rather, John defines conviction as “getting a glimpse of what I’m capable of.” In other words, your source of pain is internal- over who you are.
Therefore, we need repentance to cleanse us of our sin. In the section “Indispensable Hope,” Pastor Ortberg states that repenting of our sins is:
- never despairing of our sin
- always done in hope
- a gift God gives us for our own sake, not His
- increasing our capacity to be with God (rather than God’s desire to be with us)
- not an indicator of low self-esteem
- understanding that our worth to God underscores the importance of our response
- always done in the gracious promise of forgiveness
In conclusion, John names the big debts we labor under- and what forgiveness brings. He writes:
“We give it [the debt] labels such as regret, guilt, shame, or brokenness –sin. But God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. We know what is coming, yet we need to hear the words just the same: Forgiven. Forgiven. Forgiven.”
Today’s question: Do you depend on God or the diligence of your own scrutiny? Please share.
Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “A vivid point of light from Scripture”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Being alone with God – fully yourself”