The truck accelerated down the road toward our little beagle, who was sniffing garbage someone hurled out their window, and her life was saved by a teensy zap of electricity administered by her shock collar. An agitated bobcat hissed at our English shepherd during an evening hike, and a quick jolt from his electric collar yanked him away from the furious feline and back toward me. And, until the day when our Jack Russell first wore her shock collar, she would race beside the tires of passing vehicles in an attempt to outrun them.
Using shock collars may be considered cruel by some, but they have saved our dogs from danger and even death on numerous occasions. Of course, neither we nor the dogs enjoy using them as a means of discipline, but there are times when a sudden sting is the only method to warn them of imminent danger and correct their course.
There are times when the Spirit of God “shocks” us with a zap of conviction to warn us that we are headed for spiritual danger. The Holy Spirit stings our conscience when we drift too close to sin’s deadly road. It certainly burns when He jabs our heart with a prick of reproof, but it is required for us to flee spiritual peril and return to God. Each time He arrests our heart through the sting of admonition, He is saying, “Come, let us return to the LORD” (Hosea 6:1).
He executes conviction for the first time at your conversion, when you realize that you have offended a holy God by your sin. Jesus said, “And when he comes, he [the Holy Spirit] will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). But He continues to alert you of your need to repent, and He will alarm you of potential spiritual danger when it is present. He will poke at your conscience all-day long if you have unconfessed sin in your life (Psalm 32:3-5). And because He guides you into all truth, He will send a spark of correction to your mind when you drift into theological error (John 16:13).
Embrace the Spirit’s occasional sting of conviction—God is using it to save your life.
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).