“Stan,” I began, “the pastor’s message at church on Sunday really convicted me about something that’s going on in my life.”
“That’s a good thing,” Stan replied. “It shows that God is seeking to tell you something, but what you do with it is the most important part.”
“Do with it?” I responded. “What do you mean?
“Well,” Stan said, “I have all sorts of alternatives to choose from when I feel convicted by something I read in God’s word or something I hear from a pastor, from another person, or from the voice of the Holy Spirit.”
“What sort of alternatives?” I asked.
“First of all,” Stan replied, “I can choose to keep away from that which is convicting me.”
Continuing, he added, “I can quit reading the Bible. I can quit going to church. I can quit being around other people who are convicting me. Or I can quit listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.”
“Those seem kind of extreme,” I replied.
“They are,” Stan replied. “The alternative is that I can choose to listen to the sense of being convicted. I can see the reason for what I’m sensing. See the reason and then confess, repent, and get moving to where God wants me to be about the particular matter.”
“In between the choices of not listening and choosing to listen,” he continued, “there’s a continuous stream of choices for me to make.”
“God convicts me for His purposes,” Stan added. “How I choose to respond to conviction is what will determine whether or not I move in the right direction on the path of being transformed into the likeness of Christ.”
Concluding, he said, “God speaks to me directly and indirectly, but He leaves my response to me. Each day I pray not only to be open to what God has to say, but that I will be open to responding in the way He intends. When He convicts me, and He does that more often than I care to admit, I see it as a good thing that indicates He cares and has my best interests in mind!”
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you care about me and my relationship with you. Thank you that you care enough to convict me of thoughts, words, and actions that are contrary to what you have for me to be and to do. I confess that too often I fail to listen to your words of conviction, whether those words are in the Bible, whether they come from other people you bring into my life, or whether they come from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Please forgive me for not listening. And please, Father, help me in following your every step as you lead me to where you want me to be in my relationship with you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Being convicted to make changes in our lives comes from God. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? Have you ever been convicted of something by what someone said to you and you then decided you didn’t like being convicted so you avoided that person? If so, what was that all about? Same question, but substitute the conviction as coming from God. Have you experienced that sort of conviction? If so, what did you do with it?