Conviction is Convince-tion!
by Pastor Gene
OK, OK. I know ‘convince-tion’ isn’t really a ‘word,’ so to speak, but all words at one time weren’t words, right?
When you get to the age where a bit of snow begins to gather on the roof, you may find it a challenge to keep up with all the new words and phrases that find their way into the cultural word bank.
I’d never heard of a ‘nothing burger’ until 2017. Try going back to 1985 and ask someone what it means to ‘Google’ something or if he wants to ‘split an Uber.’
Somebody quipped that these new words and phrases “lack a certain je ne sais quoi, and that is because they have no quoi!”
One of the more interesting of these new sayings apparently comes from those paragons of trend-monging hipness, the Kardashians. I don’t watch the show. (Having, as I do, a steadily decreasing number of functional brain cells, I’m determined to keep the few that remain for as long as I can.)
But, according to a website that tracks the development of American slang, the Kardashian-Jenners have taken to using the word “Bible” whenever they want to say something that’s really, really true. Here’s how it works: whenever the ladies want to make a statement that’s really, really, true, they begin it by saying, “Bible.”
‘Bible, I did not borrow your pink sweater.’
Or, ‘Bible, I can’t believe anyone actually watches our show!’
Sorry. I’m just playing. I couldn’t resist that last one.
(And, after all, I guess there are far worse ways to use the word ‘Bible’ than to indicate something that’s really, really true. In fact, now that I think of it, I hope it catches on!)
Anyway, I merely offer the above evidence to make my case that if everyone else can invent words, then I can too! Fair is fair!
Now, I think believers really struggle with the idea of conviction. What is conviction? One of the best definitions I’ve found is this: Conviction is the state of being convinced that something is true.
Before Jesus was tried and crucified, He promised His downcast disciples that He would not leave them alone; He would send them a Helper, the Holy Spirit.
John 16:6-7: “Because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
He promised that “when the Spirit of truth comes,” He would guide believers “into all the truth” (John 16:13). This includes convicting us of sin both before salvation (so that we might come to be saved), and after salvation (so we might come to be more like Jesus).
Whenever we go astray, whenever we begin down a road that leads away from God, the Holy Spirit begins to show us our error through conviction.
He removes His peace. We become troubled in our spirit. Our joy dissipates.
We’re choosing roads of the earth instead of roads of the Spirit, and there’s nothing good for us down those roads!
Those spiritual pings, that inner sense that something is wrong in my walk with God, must be taken seriously. When I feel them, I should pause to examine my spiritual life, to look closely at my walk. Is there something displeasing to the Father lurking in the shadows there? Is there something I need to fix?
When we do this, where letting the Holy Spirit convince us of our need to set our walk aright. Acting upon these Spirit-revealed insights leads to even more spiritual growth and conformity to the image of Christ.
Conviction is being convinced that the things God is showing me are true and need to be addressed. Conviction is convince-tion.
But we have to be careful here! There is a fine line between the Spirit convicting us and the devil condemning us. The first is designed for our spiritual growth, that we might experience the fullness of joy that is ours in the new creation; the second is designed to take us out of the race, to discourage us, to neutralize our faith.
Paul wrote, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God does this by pinging our conscience so that we might take a close look at our lives. “Examine yourselves,” Paul said, “to see whether you are in the faith” (Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 13:5).
When we feel the Spirit’s ping, may it be a source of honest examination that leads to the conviction to change whatever we need to change so that we might walk with God in the newness of life!
May He who is daily conforming us into the image of Christ Jesus convince us of “all the truth”!
Bible, we’ll never be sorry He did!
- Do you struggle with the thin line between conviction and condemnation?
Paul makes it clear that there is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” so that gives us a good idea where the condemnation we feel from time to time comes from.
How does this understanding of conviction as a God thing and condemnation as a work of the enemy change the way you approach these spiritual pings?
- Do you ever consider the Friend and Helper that you have in the Holy Spirit? That He is actively guiding you through the journey of the Christian life into “all the truth?”
One way to raise this awareness is to regularly thank Jesus for sending Him.
- Does the idea that conviction is the state of being convinced that something is true change the way you approach biblical conviction?
- What has God been trying to convince you of lately?
Has He met any resistance?
Remember the goal! The Holy Spirit is working in us so that we might become more and more like the One who loves us and died for us!
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