For many believers, sinking to the bottom means the end. They become so overwhelmed by their failures, they develop a sense of unworthiness. And over time they feel trapped beyond any help. Isaiah wrote of such believers, “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted…” (Isaiah 54:11).

Some eventually get mad at God. They grow tired of waiting for him to move, so they cry accusingly, “Lord, where were you when I needed you? I cried out to you for deliverance, but you never answered. I’ve done everything I know to do, yet I’m still not free. I’m tired of repenting and crying, without ever seeing any change!” Many such believers simply give up trying and give themselves over to their flesh.

Others fall into a fog of spiritual apathy. They’re convinced God doesn’t care about them anymore. They tell themselves, “My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God” (Isaiah 40:27). “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).

Still others end up focusing all their attention on the failure, trying to keep themselves in a constant state of conviction. Yet this only causes them to be bewildered, crying, “Our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10).

The fact is, feeling conviction is not an end in itself. When we’re humbled by guilt and sorrow over our sin, we’re not supposed to rest in those feelings. They’re meant to drive us to the end of ourselves—and to the victory of the cross!