Being a Christian is funny.
I'm encouraged by things that are actually pointing out how sinful I really am. How often does that happen. that you are really truly uplifted by criticisms? We claim all the time that we want constructive criticism, but how often are you really happy about receiving it? I think deep down we say we want criticism, but we really want people to just tell us how well we are doing and how awesome we are.
Which is why it is odd when, sitting in church listening to my (in my opinion) brilliant pastor, I feel really convicted by what he is sharing with us and I really like it. I think this happens for 2 reasons.
First, when I feel conviction and see a place in my life that I need to give more to Christ, I have a chance to really let Him into my life more, which is exciting. I know it will be work and it won't always be fun, but because I love Him I know that ultimately it will be for the best, and that excites me.
Second, when I feel convicted it reminds me that my soul has been made alive in Christ. Before I was caught up in the divine grip of grace, my soul would never have felt anything at a sermon of this sort. I was deadened to this sort of stimulus. That I feel it know, can see it working in me, even if it is a slow process, gives me such joy. It is a proof that Christ is in me and I in Him. Anything that reminds me of that can't be something to be sorrowful about, no matter how harsh the criticism.
That's the peculiarity of a life in Christ: Pain is made a joyous experience, wisdom is seen in foolishness, strength is shown through weakness.