Chapel of Praise

Oscar Sanchez

Oscar Sanchez

Oscar Sanchez is the Youth Pastor for Chapel of Praise, located in Eureka, Montana USA.

Pain of Conviction

Part 3 of an 8-part series presented by Oscar Sanchez on what it means to "Be In Christ." In this devotion, we see how the Holy Spirit works to keep us out of sin, and directed to God's work.

A couple of months ago I felt really convicted when Pastor asked in his sermon, “Do you wake up and the first thing you do is grab your phone and check Facebook? I felt convicted in my heart because, honestly, that was me. Somewhere along the line, with having my phone so readily available,  I changed my commitment to the Lord. Before phones and social media, I would get up and my first thoughts were: (1) Reach for my Bible and get one verse before I walked out of the room. (2) Let my knees touch the earth and quickly pray before I left my room. But now, while I still read and pray, for the most part, the first thing I do is reach for my phone to see if I got any text messages, emails, or social media messages waiting for me. It breaks my heart because I don’t want God to be my second thought of the day. I want God to be my first thought. I want my relationship with Him to be growing every single day.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 says, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Yes, there is ‘conviction.’ Conviction is defined as ‘the act or process of finding a person guilty.’ That sounds bad, but ‘conviction’ is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. ‘Conviction’ means the Holy Spirit is trying to grab your attention. ’Conviction’ in your conscience means God is fighting for you. God is fighting for your heart. He’s trying to refocus your priority. If you push off conviction, that means that you’re not rightly prioritizing your relationship with the Lord. If you are fighting for your relationship with the Lord, then you welcome conviction. Your thought should be, “Lord, change me from the inside out.” Your thought should be, “Lord, do a work in me that I can’t completely understand or explain. That’s what happens in our relationship with the Lord as it grows.

It is similar to the process where you went from dating to marriage, to full-on commitment. The idea that as a couple, you were growing something together. But somewhere along the line, the things that you as a couple were growing together — the house, the kids, work, the business, the whatever it may be —  those things somehow became the priority. In other words, the by-products of the relationship became the focus instead of the relationship itself. 

Proverbs 8:17 gives us an important promise. It says, “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.” This verse is saying, “Church, get back to the place where, when you say ‘in Christ,’ you are talking about your relationship together. Where you ‘diligently seek me’ early in the morning. Where you pursue God with all your heart and all your soul.” 

God is calling us to a deeper relationship. What is your priority? I’ve allowed electronics or other distractions to lose my focus, but I want my life to be found ‘in Christ.’ I want my heart to be found ‘in Christ.’ I want Christ to be in me and I want me to be in Christ. I want that depth and that relationship with him to continue to grow.  What does Proverbs 8:17 say? It says we must ‘diligently seek’ if we want to find God and build that relationship. I’m not satisfied with last year’s blessings. I’m not satisfied with how good God was with me three years ago or five years ago. God has goodness and mercy for me today that I want to receive. God has some relationship building that he wants to do with me today, and I want that. So I need to ‘diligently seek.’ The word ‘seek’ is a progressive verb. It does not stop until the end — when you ‘find’ what you are seeking. I’m not satisfied with what my relationship with God was a year ago. I’m not satisfied with what it was yesterday. Yesterday was great, but you know what, if I don’t build on it, then I’m gonna lose it. Make the relationship a priority. And daily seek Him.

Here’s a hard truth. It’s not enough to say, “I believe in Jesus. I am saved and that’s my status.” James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!” Believing is not enough. You need to be living ‘in Christ.’ You need to be in a growing relationship with Christ. Too many people are satisfied with, “I believe. “I go to church.” There’s more to God than that. If that’s all you ever get, you’re getting nothing because there’s so much more to Him, but you won’t find it unless you ‘diligently seek.’

I’ve given you three verses in this devotion to consider. Perhaps reading these verses is the beginning of your ‘seeking.’ I hope so. In this devotion, I gave three (3) important lessons for your life (and mine too!). (1) If we are believers in Christ, and our priorities for focus don’t reflect our need to grow the relationship, the Holy Spirit will convict us. That is, make it known to us. This is a good thing, and we ignore it to our own peril. (2) If we want our relationship to grow ‘in Christ,’ then it must be a priority. We must ‘diligently seek’ in our relationship. A relationship is a living thing. It is either growing or withering from lack of attention. (3) The word ‘seek’ is progressive. It is not something you achieve before moving on to the next priority. It is a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly process. All relationships are that way. It’s not a surface thing. Demons believe there is one God. They have no relationship with God. Be better than that! 

God bless you and keep you. ~OS

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