Recently the Lord has been showing me how subtle and pervasive the Father of Lies is at planting thoughts in my head. Thoughts like, "You only really seek the Lord when things are rough." or "There's no use in reading the Word if you're just going to spend 5 mins. doing it." Thoughts that discourage. Thoughts that condemn. Thoughts that (up until now) I have mistaken for conviction of the Spirit. But all this blame and condemnation does not come from God.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
It dawned on me the other day that if I'm feeling condemned, I am not hearing the voice of the Lord. That's not to say that the content of what I'm hearing is a complete lie, because there may be some truth to it. But, if the thoughts in my head make me want to go hide under my covers instead of seek the Lord, they are not from God.
"...God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance..." Romans 2:4b
True conviction of sin, brought by the Spirit, can be hard to digest for sure. But the gentleness and kindness of the Lord in revealing sin, causes me to humble myself and repent with thankfulness at His care over me and His desire to conform me to His image. It does not make me feel apathetic, depressed or like throwing in the spiritual towel.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5