So… There might be a little bit of confusion surrounding the title of this week’s blog, and rightly so. It seems that culturally there is a lot of confusion around this word… but before we get into that, a brief update on where the posts from last week were…
First, it was a holiday on Monday and so I took that call very seriously and spent a wonderful day with my family enjoying the chaos of John’s Incredible Pizza Co. and of course all that that entails. It was a great day!! I think Dr. King would have approved.
Second, I was illing on Wednesday and I thought a post on NyQuil, though entertaining, would probably not serve much purpose and possibly get me in trouble.
CONVICTION – kən-ˈvik-shən – (it’s the phonetic spelling) and let there be a clear reiteration that, there seems to be a great deal of confusion around the concept of conviction. One might say there is a bit of frəs-ˈtrā-shən surrounding conviction, from both sides of the coin (or actually a few different sides of the coin). Conviction is a multi-faceted aspect of our growth as Christ followers we must allow for, grow in, and live with conviction.
Now of course, because we are pretty broken, we struggle with all of these things (which is pretty normal since all areas of growth seem to be areas where we struggle, imagine that), but the problem is when we push back and decide we will not be subject to the growth and we engage in running from God, or deflecting what God is trying to do justify our current state as being “good enough”. So let’s tackle these areas one by one and see if there can be any light shed for each of us…
ALLOW FOR… As God’s kids we have to allow for His conviction to have weight in our lives. This is what Webster’s describes as “the act of being convinced of error or compelled to tell the truth”. God has imparted to us His Holy Spirit, and through this He will bring conviction into our lives, through a number of different means. Our struggle is we often don’t like the means. When a pastor preaches a sermon, or speaks into our lives to correct or rebuke our actions, we dislike it. We’re not talking the typical go to church and hear a good motivating sermon that reminds you to be more active in serving, sharing, or giving, type of conviction (that’s way to comfy), no more like the good old fashioned root out your sin and smash you in the face kind of preaching, the kind that sets on your head & heart and DEEPLY convicts you. This we don’t like, the first kind we can laugh and smile and tell the pastor “man you really got me with this one”. In fact the typical reaction is for us when faced with truly deep conviction is to react with anger, after all it’s judgment right? At least that’s the normal claim. Judgment, legalism, Pharasiaism (which is being like a Pharisee) are the usual default when we are challenged at a deep level, when really called on the carpet. It seems we are not conditioned for conviction on this level. We assume that God wants only for us to be mildly uncomfortable, and we also assume that God would never use our pastor to bring that kind of news. Why, for that level of conviction there should be some sort of direct line communication right? Maybe. We have been conditioned to think that any time a human being speaks to us with authority that challenges our comfort and tells us to “STOP IT!!” they are only operating out of anger and judgment, that they are proponents of legalism, or are in the same camp as Jesus’ favorite bunch; the Pharisees (which if you want to know the level of how bad that is, just read Matthew 23) . That is just plain wrong. In 2 Samuel God used Nathan the prophet to Go to King David and deliver a healthy dose of conviction. Imagine that, a pastor going to the ruler of the land, a dude with tons of power, and delivering a message of “stop it!!”. Oh.. and what was the conclusion of that interaction? David, who could have easily continued in rebellion and even had Nathan killed for any number of trumped up charges, repented, submitted and allowed the conviction to grow him.
Are we allowing God’s conviction to course through our lives? Are we allowing the people (yep people) who are placed in spiritual authority over us to lead us and bring those words to us? Are we rejecting God’s conviction because it’s poking at our own personal golden calves?
David was a broken man, who clearly struggled, but when he got it right… he really got it right. My hope is that our hearts are to seek like David did, and not hold our lives in clenched fists. That our hearts would be soft to God’s leading and we would allow His continued refinement of our character, and our journey with Him.
Next Week: Part 2- Growing in Conviction.