Conviction is a word that I don’t hear very often. I think it is underused. The Bible talks about conviction in a few places including the famous chapter on faith in Hebrews 11, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If we are to operate out of faith then we need to operate out of conviction. I am not always so sure that people are very convicted these days. Sometimes it feels like we make decisions out of what seems right or out of business sense but what about operating out of a sense of conviction?
We recently held an elders and ministers meeting to discuss our direction. We purposeful phrased our brainstorming question to ask for convictions rather than suggestions. Let’s only bring up the few things we feel strongly about…even convicted about that would honor God in our actions and direction.
When Paul writes to the Thessalonians he talks about when they presented the Gospel to them before they were Christians. Here is what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7,
“For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.“
This is the same thing we see in Acts 2, even though the word “conviction” isn’t used when the crowd at Pentecost was cut to the heart. It also ties conviction to the Holy Spirit just as Jesus does in John 16 especially verse 8 where Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit will convict mankind in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.
Do we truly believe God is interested in convicting us of anything? Certainly we can and should be convicted by the Word of God. According to the scriptures we can also be convicted by the Holy Spirit. What would happen if we started operating out of conviction rather than convenience or conviction rather than tradition or conviction rather than fleeting feelings? This would require us to be in the Word more and to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit than ever before. I believe we would experience a revolution!