I just finished editing a paper for my younger son. It actually started out as 12 pages; but by the end, it was down to 10….
This must have been hard on my son. I know from being on the other end of the manuscript that it is incredibly hard when someone edits your work and suggests cuts. You tend to develop an affinity of sorts with the words you’ve written, and it is kind of like someone suggesting that you get rid of one of your kids! Nonetheless, an author tends to be too close to a manuscript to be able to accurately identify the redundancies and things that detract from the subject at hand.
It is the same in our Christian lives. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, there is usually lots of our carnal lives still hanging around: “I know that in me [that is, in my flesh] nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18 NKJV). What Paul is referring to is our carnal nature that we inherit from our fallen parents. This includes temper, irritability, jealousy, pride, selfishness and criticism, to name just a few. We, however, are far too close to ourselves to identify see that those things aren’t needed any longer, that they are redundant, that they, perhaps, take away from the lives we desire to lead. What we need is an editor!
Fortunately for us, God has just what we need in the form of the Holy Spirit: “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin….” (John 16:8a NLT).
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to point out to us where there are areas of our lives that need to be “edited” out.
But wait. I don’t like it when someone says something I’ve written should be “edited out”!
Let’s look at the next line of John 16:8: “And when he comes, he will convict the world of … of God’s righteousness….” (John 16:8b NLT)
So when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, He also convicts us of the righteousness of God, the same righteousness that we have been given as a gift when we exchange His perfection for our sin. By contemplating that perfect righteousness of God, that same righteousness that covers our ugly sinful nature, it makes us want to have less “ugly stuff” to cover up! Thus, besides convicting us of sin, the Holy Spirit places in our hearts the desire to be more like Jesus, and this will make us want to do away with those unnecessary and perhaps damaging parts of our character.
But wait…. When someone edits out my work, it leaves me feeling bad, like maybe I shouldn’t have written that piece in the first place. Is that how we should feel when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and puts the desire in our hearts to be rid of them? Should we feel condemned?
There is just one more line in John 16:8: “And when he comes, he will convict the world … of the coming judgment.” (John 16:8c NLT). Jesus goes on to explain what He means about the coming judgment in vs. 11: “Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.” (John 16:11 NLT). What this means, then, is that we who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour need not fear the upcoming judgment. We don’t need to worry about the fact that we sinned in the first place. We can rest assured that because the ruler of the world has already been judged, we can have peace in the judgment seat.
Let’s remember the opening words of Romans 8: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, thepower of the life-giving Spirit hasfreed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (vs. 1-2 NLT)
Yes, there is a Celestial editor, the Holy Spirit. He will gently show us the sin that still pollutes our lives. He will quietly convict us that we need to get rid of that sin, and at the same time, He will softly remind us that we can have peace in the face of judgment, because the ruler of the world has already been judged!
Celestial editor? Bring Him on!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.