By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Of all the benefits that Holy Spirit God brings into the life of believers, conviction is the one for which I am least often and most often thankful. I do not like feeling conviction, it’s not fun.
That overwhelming sense that something I did or felt, something I did not do, or (most often in my case) something I did or did not say, was not right before God. I thank God for conviction, though, because it reminds me of God’s unchanging nature. He is uncompromising in His disdain for sin just as He is unchanging in His love for me.
I thank God also for conviction because it is a great measure of my current spiritual health. Hear me out. When I am not walking with Jesus as I should and want to, I am significantly duller in feeling that conviction and acting upon it.
When I am not immediately convicted over something in my life or when I am not immediately moved to confess it and make it right, I know that I am drifting. I need to stop and spend some time with Jesus. The closer I am walking with Jesus the greater that sense of conviction and the quicker I am moved to respond to it.
Conviction is something that goes beyond a sense of guilt and is motivated by something more than conscience.
Conviction is from God. Guilt makes us feel bad we got caught or violated our conscience. Our conscience tells us our standard of what is acceptable and what is right. It reminds us who we are. Our conscience, though, is seared by sin. It is warped, and continues to become more warped by the sin we continue in.
Conviction is different. Conviction doesn’t simply tell us who we are, it tells us who God is. Conviction doesn’t change as we gain new experiences, grow older, or learn more.
Conviction does not come from within us but proceeds from the Holy Spirit. Conviction moves us to action, to whatever it takes to draw closer to God. In John 15:26-27, Jesus tells us the Counselor will come and He will testify about Jesus.
That’s what the Holy Spirit does, and that’s what conviction is! The Holy Spirit is reminding us who Jesus is, His nature, His uncompromising character. He is reminding who Jesus is and helping us to see these things that do not line up with that truth. Conviction goes beyond conscience. Conviction gives us a clear picture of who Jesus is and, therefore, a clear picture of who we truly are and what our sin truly is.
One final thing Holy Spirit conviction does for us: it reminds us whose we are. As parents, we likely don’t punish misbehaving children who are not ours (even though we may want to).
Conviction is a reminder that we are His children. I thank God for conviction, most of all, because it reminds me that I am a child of God. As children of God, He loves us too much to allow sinful behavior and attitudes to go unchecked and unchallenged. He steps in to remind us whose we are. We are children of the King of Glory! B&R