I have to admit when I heard that phrase in my heart, "the blessing of conviction," I was simultaneously happy and sad. I probably chuckled... Who wants to feel convicted, anyhow? But not so fast - just dwell for a moment on this.
Coming before God in his holiness, his unmatched greatness as his child is both exciting and humbling. We stand and sing, we cry out to him, but if we never feel humbled as unworthy beings in his presence, I fear that maybe we haven't really been close to him. Maybe we've just sung about him instead of to him?
Some would say, "unworthy? What do you mean - Jesus makes us worthy..." I've heard it - and I get all that - and while I won't expound here, that's true. Yes, yes, we can come with boldness before God! Yet I look in the mirror each day. I scrutinize my motivations, and I come up so short of God's desire for me.
In worship - whether in my living room, in my car, or in my church, I long to be so close to him that I feel the burning off of my "old self". I want his presence to make it clear. And I believe that He must. One of the great effects of truly worshipping God is that it results in us seeing the truth: the holiness of God and the unworthiness of man. How awesome.
The conviction of sin is one of the great blessings of God - that he would send his Holy Spirit to us to lovingly but pointedly, show us ourselves. And once we've seen ourselves, how much more do we long for God to reach down and save us again, and again.
Yes, I'm afraid that if we have "worship" with no conviction in ourselves, then we've not gone far enough into the "Holy of Holies". Maybe we've not entered into the "courts of praise". Instead, are we just hanging out at the gate looking in from the outside? And why stay there? The real joy is on the inside. The price of admission? Honesty about who we are, and who He is...
Some parting thoughts:* Worship results in seeing truth - the holiness of God, the unworthiness of man
* Conviction of sin - sin that must be dealt with; it cannot remain
God, teach us to worship you. Teach us to draw near to you and to listen when we worship. Teach us to listen to the Holy Spirit that you have sent as our counselor. Give us wisdom and strength to make right choices. And forgive us when we fall short. Thank you that you know our hearts. Change us, oh Lord, this day - by the power of the Spirit that you have caused to live in us. For your honor and your glory.