When the Lord appeared to Isaiah in a vision, Isaiah was convicted by a sense of his sinfulness (Isaiah 6:1—5). This conviction wasn’t vague or indefinite; the Lord revealed to Isaiah the exact nature of his sin, showing him that he was “a man of unclean lips.”

A sure sign that I am in the presence of God is this lack of vagueness about sin. I realize I am a sinner not in a general sense but in a particular sense. I understand that there is a concentration of sin in a specific area of my life. It’s easy to say, “Oh, yes, I know I am a sinner.” But I can’t get away with a vague statement like this when I am with God.

Everyone, from the greatest and the least of saints to the greatest and the least of sinners, experiences this awareness of the concentration of sin when they come into God’s presence. When we are on the first rung of the ladder of spiritual experience, we may not know exactly where we’ve gone wrong. The Spirit of God will show us. He will point out a definite sin, fixing our minds upon it, as he fixed Isaiah’s mind upon his “unclean lips.” If we will yield to his conviction on this point, he will take us to a deeper level of conviction, leading us all the way down to the great disposition of sin that lies underneath.

Once we’ve been convicted of our sin, God will purify us of it, sending his cleansing fire to the precise place the sin is concentrated: “He touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for’” (v. 7). This is always the way God deals with us when we are consciously in his presence.

Wisdom from Oswald

I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye. Disciples Indeed, 385 L