How do you know when God is convicting you? How do you know if it’s God or your own conscience that’s convicting you? Or is it the devil accusing you?
When God is convicting you, it will always be in a way that reminds you of who you truly are. God builds you up and reminds you of who He’s made you to be. He always builds you up and never tears you down.
God Never Beats You Up
When God is convicting you about something, it will never be condemning or harassing. God never makes you feel rotten about yourself. He gently reminds you of your righteousness in Christ and encourages you to believe the truth about who you are.
If you are not a born again Christian yet, God is always pursuing you and trying to convict you of your need for His Son, Jesus Christ.
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:8-11
Notice in this verse that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of one sin- the sin of not believing on Jesus. He’s not convicting us over little mistakes we make. This is usually our own conscience. The Holy Spirit is convicting the world of their need for the Savior- Jesus Christ.
You can not have peace in this world without a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the only source of true peace. And you cannot receive eternal life apart from accepting what Jesus has done for you in His crucifixion and resurrection.
For more about salvation, read Salvation by Faith: Exactly What it Means.
For a Christian, a huge part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is reminding you of your new righteous nature.
The Holy Spirit convicts the born again believer of their new righteous nature. He is constantly wanting to convince you that you have been made righteous through the work of Jesus.
What Jesus did through His work on the cross and resurrection is greater than any sin you commit.
The more you understand that you have been made righteous and holy, the more you will act like it.
The Holy Spirit will remind you of your righteousness when at times what you are thinking about or how you are behaving is lower than your new identity in Christ. It just doesn’t match anymore. You’re living from the patterns your old man taught you, but that old nature has been crucified with Christ.
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Romans 6:6-8
That old nature is what produced ungodly, sinful thoughts and actions in you. And that old nature has been crucified with Christ and is gone! You no longer have that ungodly spirit controlling you. You are free! You now have a spirit that looks just like Jesus, and it is your nature to be godly and holy.
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
Your New Spirit is Righteous
When you receive salvation, your spirit, which is the real you, is instantly “born again” and becomes completely righteous and holy. Jesus bore your sin on the cross and has given you His perfect righteousness as a gift. There is nothing you must do to earn it. It is a gift!
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
There is no sin in your new spirit. This is why after you receive salvation, the entire Christian life is an exciting adventure of getting to know Jesus and who you are in Him.
When you are acting or thinking in a way that is contrary to who you are now, God will remind you of the change that has taken place and who you truly are because of Jesus. Your old ways just won’t feel right anymore. The things you used to do won’t feel natural anymore.
The more you meditate on your new identity in Christ, those old patterns of thinking and behavior will fall off of you like dead leaves.
This is exactly what I experienced in my own life. When I got saved, I was living with my boyfriend, smoking weed every day, smoking cigarettes and regularly drinking too much. I was a thief and a liar, and the list goes on and on and on. But you know what? I never tried to stop doing those things! I just kept renewing my mind to what Jesus had done for me, and who I was now that I was born again and eventually those things completely fell off of my life. Every single one of them.
It is God’s job to conform you to the image of His Son, and He does it from the inside out. He is a pure genius in the way He transforms our life. Trust Him that as you renew your mind to His Word, you will be transformed.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
How Does the Holy Spirit Convict Us?
Reminding you of your righteousness in Christ is a major part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always seeks to exalt Jesus and His finished work. The work of Jesus is complete and covers everything you could possibly need in this life.
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:3
When you start to truly believe what Jesus has done and who you are now, you will begin to act that way almost without effort. It’s all about who you believe you are.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.. Proverbs 23:7
The more you renew your mind to your new identity in Christ and how pleasing you are to the Lord, the more you will act that way.
Your old habits of sin just won’t fit anymore. They won’t feel right because the root that created those actions is gone.
When the Holy Spirit convicts you, it’s always an encouragement to believe on Jesus- to believe what He has done for you and who He has made you to be.
It doesn’t always make sense to us the way God transforms us. Our natural minds tend to think that when someone is living in sin, we need to beat them over the head and let them know how wrong they are. But this is not God’s method. God’s ways are full of the highest levels of wisdom.
This is exactly what Paul did in His letter to the Corinthians. The people in the Church at Corinth were living in extremely sinful ways. How did he deal with this? He reminded them of their true identity. He reminded them of who they are in Christ.
In Christ, you have become a saint, truly holy and righteous. Reminding you of this reality is how God convicts you. You will feel in your heart that you are living contrary to your true self. Your true nature wants to walk in love, wants to forgive, wants to be honest and trust God no matter what. This is who you really are!