Do you like being convicted by the Holy Spirit?

24 09 2007

Do you like being convicted by the Holy Spirit?

Okay, perhaps “like” isn’t the best word to use, because in some ways it’s not enjoyable.  But do you welcome the conviction?  Will you go out of your way to be convicted or do you try to avoid it?  If I provided a link to an article that I said would probably convict you, would that make you more or less likely to read it?

Think about that for a while.  I know it’s not fun to realize more ways that you are sinful and fall short of God’s standard.  But if you want to grow closer to God, you have to deal with the sins in your life, including the ones you aren’t yet conscious of.  And if you often avoid things that might convict you — like listening to sermons, participating with praise and worship music, or Bible study — what does that say about your desire to grow closer to God?

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6 responses

25 09 2007
L Cope

What is God’s standard? Is Conviction a biblical term and what does it mean?

I will assume “conviction” , in this context means to make you feel guilty. I don’t beleive God works in this fashion. He encourages his children to Love and do good works. Encouragement not Conviction.

25 09 2007
Beppo

The term conviction appears in the NIV twice, and only once referring to the Holy Spirit bringing your sin to your attention (in 1 Thessalonians 1:5). It doesn’t appear in the King James Version. However, it is related to two biblical words : convict and convince. One who is convicted is convinced of sin or error. In most of the cases where “convince” is used in the Bible, it is similar to our use of the word “convict”, in that it usually deals with those who are convinced of sin.

You’re right in that conviction from God makes you feel guilty, because you realize that you aren’t fully living the life He has called you to. But let me make this clarification — it is very different from condemnation. When God convicts you, He tells or shows you what you’re doing wrong and need to change. When the devil or someone condemns you, they are putting you down, saying things like, “You’re no good. You’re worthless. You’ll never amount to anything.” God will never put you down like that, but He does show you the areas where you are sinning. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” When God makes you feel guilty, it’s so you will deal with that problem so you can have closer fellowship with Him. So it leads to repentance and makes you feel better.

And in reference to what you said, I agree that God “encourages His children to love and do good works”. But He also tells us when we mess up. There’s both.

Also, “God’s standard” is following all the commandments Jesus gave us to follow. And Jesus is our example. Of course we still fall short of that standard sometimes, and thankfully God is gracious and merciful towards us.

26 09 2007
Chris Davis

I’m GLAD that God disciplines our hearts. Otherwise, if He didn’t, we’d be illegitimate children (see Hebrews 12:7-10)! Absolutely God is loving, graceful and merciful… but if we’re never challenged… we’ll never change.

26 09 2007
L Cope

Here is the passage in question:

1 Thessalonians 1
1Paul, Silas[a] and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.[b]
2We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because 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. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

The term conviction in this scripture is one of these definitions–Which, 1, 2 or 3?

Main Entry: con·vic·tion
Pronunciation: k&n-‘vik-sh&n
Function: noun
1 : the act or process of convicting of a crime especially in a court of law
2 a : the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth b : the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth
3 a : a strong persuasion or belief b : the state of being

I think it is #3 (i like that stateof being part)

Also, we should probably focus on another part of this passage

3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

God–produces, prompts and inspires, but I am not sure if he convicts…

The other scripture:

10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

Main Entry: 1sor·row
Pronunciation: ‘sär-(“)O, ‘sor-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English sorow, from Old English sorg; akin to Old High German sorga sorrow
1 a : deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved b : resultant unhappy or unpleasant state
2 : a cause of grief or sadness
3 : a display of grief or sadness

I don’t think Godly sorrow means conviction in #2 definition of Conviction that you claim. I think he is referring to repentance for salvation not santification. Also, here is God producing something again.

The Hebrews scripture:

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

I agee, God’s discipline comes from hardships, that he does not create but encourages us to endure.

I said all this to say this– God does not make us feel guilty in an attempt to draw us closer to him. He reveals, encourages, produces, prompts and inspires us closer to him. We can do nothing to draw closer to his Love and Fellowship–it’s already there.

L. Cope

26 09 2007
L Cope

I had a typo in the second to last paragraph–this is the corrected version–sorry.

I agree, God’s discipline comes from hardships, but he does not create the hardships, only encourages us to endure them.

4 10 2007
Beppo

On the definitions of conviction, #2 applies, especially when talking about someone getting saved for the first time. They have to realize their beliefs and lifestyle were wrong. You have to realize and repent of your sin to be forgiven of it. Definition 1 also fits too, somewhat, although I can see some people being uncomfortable with it. But we have sinned against God, we have broken His rules. He is the Judge, and we will be tried, and there are penalties for our actions. Fortunately Jesus paid the price for our sins, so we don’t have to pay the penalty once we come into His covenant and accept His sacrifice (on His terms).

On the Hebrews 12:7-10 passage, the Greek word for chastened / disciplined means “tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction:–chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.” In that disciplinary correction and training, He does it lovingly. God doesn’t condemn us — those feelings come from either the devil or other people or our insecurities. But God does tell us where we’ve sinned. Have you never done something wrong and then instantly realized you messed up? I don’t mean our conscience, where we wonder about it, but where you know without a doubt that you just sinned against God. Or does God ever reveal to you where something in your life isn’t right?

And, L Cope, on your last line, I want to add something. You said, “We can do nothing to draw closer to his Love and Fellowship–it’s already there.” God is already there, but we aren’t always. God always loves us the same, but we aren’t always as close to God as we have been. The writer of Hebrews 10:19-22 told us to “draw near” to God, which means “to approach, i.e. (literally) come near, visit, or (figuratively) worship, assent to”. Paul said in Philippians 3:7-15 that he hasn’t arrived yet in knowing God fully but presses on to know God more. And we are told in multiple places to mature, to grow, and to bear more fruit. There’s a lot more of God than what we have seen so far.

Here’s something to chew on — read Jonah 1, and pay attention to verse 15. Who do you think created the hardship?

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