This article was first published at Morning By Morning.
When my husband asked me if I was ready to have a third child, I didn’t know my yes would usher in a season of spiritual dryness. I forgot I would face the challenges of nausea, fatigue, and indigestion while caring for a two and one year old. I forgot how easy it is to trade what’s important for what I think will get me through the day and the effect such a decision has on the heart over time.
Before becoming pregnant, I had been finding a new normal and thriving in my relationship with God. Drowning in the woes of the first trimester, I felt stuck, checked out, and hollow. All I wanted was more ice cream, more cozy couch time, and more nineties nostalgia on Netflix. But strawberry cheesecake Ben and Jerry’s was beginning to get old, my favorite blanket needed to be laundered, and my binge watching was simply getting out of control, spilling out of my kids’ nap time and into our mornings and afternoons together.
I had no peace. On one hand, I wanted to enjoy my relationship with God again. On the other hand, I didn’t want anything to do with him. I didn’t want to relinquish my comforts to him, because I didn’t believe there was anything more gratifying than the “next episode.”
There’s nothing inherently sinful about ice cream, lying on a couch, or watching Netflix. In the end, it was a heart issue more than it was a behavior issue. The great danger was my awareness of a sinful pattern in my life and my unwillingness to repent—the key ingredients to developing a cold, callous heart towards God. I was stuck spiritually.
When we coddle particular sins, we believe they have the power to give us life, which only God can do. Such thinking obstructs our spiritual growth and frustrates our ability to relish the goodness of God in the whole of life. It is impossible to both coddle sin and delight in holiness. Whatever joy we hope to experience in a relationship with God is hindered by any pursuit of pleasure outside of God. Once sin appears better to us than the holiness and worthiness of God, we have drunk the poison of unbelief.
In my unbelief, I chose to trust my own way instead of living by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself up for us. Thank God for the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of our subtle and not-so-subtle defiance. When the Holy Spirit alerts us to having done something wrong, he’s not merely giving us information. He’s presenting us with a way of escape.
Conviction from the Lord is an invitation to repent, to change our mind regarding the sin we once enjoyed. When we sin, we believe that a bad thing is good for us. We see this in Genesis when Eve saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was “good for food, a delight to the eyes, and good for making one wise” (Gen 3:6). She ate its fruit because she had come to distrust God’s word and to believe her own assessment.
When we repent, we return to God’s definition of good and evil.
Read more at Morning by Morning!