Summary: What does the Bible say about conviction? Many people feel guilty for things, but are they truly convicted?
“What is Biblical Conviction”
What is the condition of your heart this morning? When I speak of your heart I am not talking about the organ inside your body which pumps blood, but I am speaking of your spiritual condition. There are many ways we can gauge our own spiritual condition. We can gauge it by looking at how we treat other people. Jesus did say, the greatest command is to love the Lord and the second was to love your neighbor. You can ask yourself how you interact with others. Maybe you could ask yourself what is the level of sin in your life. Most likely if you are living a lifestyle of habitual sin some repentance needs to take place and you are not where you should be spiritually. Perhaps you could gauge your spiritual condition by the amount of time you spend in God’s Word and in prayer. Maybe you could gauge it by your motives or the thoughts that come to your mind. I believe one of the most revealing things about our hearts is how do we respond to conviction. I mean when we are confronted with a reality of a need to change a certain aspect of our lives how do we respond? Do we respond by ignoring it? Do we respond by saying we will wait until later to fix that issue? Do we respond by sincere conviction and sincere effort to change a practice in our lives?
The question that I asked, “what is the condition of your heart?” is the most important question that you will ever ask and answer of yourself. It is more important that asking yourself about important decisions in life. It is more important than asking yourself what you want to do with your life. It is a decision that has eternal implications.
Paul said it this way, “Test yourself to see whether you are in the faith.” The Psalmist said it this way, “test me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there is any offensive way in me.” There is nothing wrong with having those deeps looks into the bowels of your spiritual self. In fact I want to suggest to you this morning that those who refuse to take look into the condition of their hearts are in grave spiritual danger.
The word conviction has several different meanings. It can mean a strong belief in something. The word conviction, as we will be using it today is referring to the idea or realization of your guilt in a particular area of life.
How do you respond though to conviction when you receive it? The Proverbs teach numerous times that a wise man will accept instruction and rebuke gladly. What is your response when you are shown the error of your ways? People respond in different ways when they are told they are wrong. Some people get very defensive about their actions and try to find excuses for what they have done. Other people respond by comparing themselves to others, “I may have done that, but at least I am not really bad like that other guy.” Other people are willing to admit they are wrong and work to correct the problem. Imagine with me that you are sitting in church as you are now, and you hear the preacher state something that brings some type of conviction to your heart for something you have done or been doing, maybe some flaw you have. How do you respond? I have had people tell me before that they do not like coming to church because they do not always leave feeling good following the message. There is a great temptation for preachers to preach what people want to hear, but I would not be doing you any favors by always preaching a feel good gospel to you. Sometimes we need our toes stepped on, but the question is when we have our toes stepped on what is our response following that.
I as a preacher really believe with all my heart that when I stand up to preach I am not just doing so in order to say something, but rather because I have something to say. Not something I have concocted in my own mind, but something I really feel every time I preach God has laid on my heart for His people to hear. Maybe not always what people want to hear, but what people need to hear. Hopefully the reason you feel you need a preacher at a church is so that you can be challenged to be more like Christ. Sometimes some things may get preached and said that you need to hear. You may feel your toes were stepped on, if that is the case what should your attitude be? Should it be to get upset and mad at what was said or who said it? Absolutely not, but rather should be one of gratitude that we have been taught something or corrected in an area, which may make a difference in our lives or in our eternity. What makes something so deep a conviction within you that you are serious about change or response? What does it take for you to feel conviction over something? How many times do you have to feel conviction over something before a change develops?