Summary: Chip away that paint! Rely only on the Spirit. If you don’t feel the Spirit moving on you to do something for someone, then don’t feel guilty for not doing it.
Title: Washing the Tools of God and the subject of conviction.
Scripture: Acts 25 & 26
We want our children to go to good colleges. Why? Is it because of the programs? Is it because of the location of the school? Is it because of something we read in a college brochure? Not really. Many times it is because we want to live our lives vicariously through our children. We want them to become what we could never be in the areas of music, or sports, or art, or whatever it is we liked when we were children. We place pressure on them, or, more simply put, we try to convince them to follow a certain path. We place conviction on them, or a guilt trip, hoping to burden their hearts to follow a certain path, which, many times, they don’t need to follow. Another reason? We succumb to the burden of conviction that the world itself has placed on us in the area of raising our kids. The world says they need to go to a good elementary school so that they can go to a good middle school, so that they can go to a good high school, so that they can go to a good college, so that they can get a good job.
We succumb to the burden of conviction that the world itself has placed on us in the area raising our kids. The world says they need to take extra classes, in addition to going to school. The world says they need to study other things, in addition to what they study in school. So we get a tutor, or have them go to music class, dance class, or art class because, we know what is right for them.
Additionally, we succumb to the burden of conviction that some churches may place on us in the area of raising our spiritual children. The church may say this or that about how much and how often we need to pray or how much and how often we need to read the Bible. We feel convicted, we feel guilty, so we pray. And, when our prayers are not answered, then we feel more guilt as we believe there must be some sin in our life because God has not answered our prayers.
We also fall prey to the conviction of co-workers, friends and relatives as they try to tell us what we need to be doing with our lives to improve them. Which, if we were to rephrase that to reflect the real truth, it would sound similar to, this is what you should be doing to make my life easier. However it is presented, it usually is cleverly hidden in the disguise of spiritual well-being. Once again guilt is laid on like a coat of paint.
The world revolves around conviction, which revolves around guilt, which revolves around Satan.
But wait, Christians use that word, too. As Christians when we came to know the Lord as our Savior, it was because of the power of conviction by the Holy Spirit, wasn’t it?
In John 16, Jesus tells us:
John 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
And in 1 Thessalonians1,
(1 Th 1:4) For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
So, what is the meaning of this word, conviction? Well, to begin with in those New International Version verses that we read, they used conviction while in the King James Version they use the word convince. What¡¦s the difference?
Conviction carries three meanings: (1) confidence (or assurance), (2) belief (faith), and (3) a guilty verdict or sentence.
For illustration, we could say:
He stands by his religious convictions (his beliefs).
His conviction carries a life sentence (a guilty verdict).
His hard work shows in his conviction (confidence).
Convince, on the other hand has two meanings that are very similar: (1) to induce (or encourage) and (2) persuade.
Most people wash their cars, at least for the first couple of months that they have them. Many people are under conviction to wash their cars because the general thought is that new cars should be clean. Then the washings may get further and fewer between as the car gets older. Most people wash their clothes, or we pray that they wash their clothes. Most people wash fruits and vegetables before they eat them because they are convince that the company did not do a good job and there is the fear that they’ve been contaminated with some type of pesticide or chemical or acid rain (which, if that had happened, it would have been absorbed by the fruit or vegetable, anyway.)