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Power of Conviction or Path of Convenience?
Dr. Timothy Hoflund
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DO YOU HAVE POWER OF CONVICTION … OR DO YOU FOLLOW THE PATH OF CONVENIENCE?
Here is a truth: Convictions will always conflict with what is comfortable and convenient in life!
Here is another truth: What is comfortable and convenient will always attempt to undermine our convictions!
For many years I have pondered the question of why those who claim to be God’s children do not follow, adhere to or obey God’s Word in their lives. In fact, why do so few Christians even look into God’s Word in any given week, much less study it routinely?
From the smallest issues to the greatest concerns, “Christians” waffle and waver in the face of pressure and fold altogether when faced with determined opposition … why?
Why, at times in my own life, have I failed to follow that what I “know” to be right? Why are there such inconsistencies in our lives … such disconnects between what we claim to believe and what we actually display in our life conduct?
We go to church for years and hear messages that stir our hearts and move our minds … momentarily. We hear a teaching that we know is correct, the Holy Spirit bears witness in our lives that we need to be changed yet when that change is tested our resolve fails!
Then, one evening, actually about 2:30 in the morning, while prayerfully considering the continuing predicament of a loved one, it hit me like a ton of bricks! This person, like so many so-called Christians, does not have the power of convictions! They take a stand on some issue that is a correct stand, but within a day or two, when it becomes an inconvenience to keep on standing, they fold like cheap teepees!
Many years ago I began to give Christian Living Seminars on confronting the occult … how to keep our families safe from the ever encroaching influence of the occult that is permeating our society. One of the biggest openings that a family creates for the occult to begin to gain influence on our children is Halloween! Without going into all the details (schedule a seminar), I show through the Word of God what are the errors and dangers of participating in Halloween, and when first hearing these facts countless parents have said, “well we will not participate anymore!” … until Halloween comes around again!
Then, it’s simply amazing how they give in to the social pressures and off they go, leading their children in participating in one of the 4 high events of the witches’ annual calendar! When reminding them of what God’s Word says, of what they themselves committed to, boy do the excuses and rationalizations flow!
But that is just an example, not the issue of this article … in issue after issue, in area after area, from marriages to substance use; from child discipline to politics; God’s children are inconsistent in what they claim to believe and too many cases - disconnected from what God plainly says!
Jesus said something that we perhaps have not correctly understood: “You shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you …”! We think that after we have some experience of being baptized in the Holy Ghost, we have some access to spiritual power that is life altering!
WRONG! We don’t have access to that power … that power is supposed to have access to and overcome us! It is a matter of the Holy Ghost reigning over us and if we truly have the Holy Ghost reigning in our lives, then we will have something that was absent prior to His overcoming us!
What did Jesus teach about the activity of the Holy Ghost in our lives? What do we believe and what do we understand about the purpose, presence and power of the Holy Ghost in our lives? The key to our inconsistency is found there! The inconsistency is found in the disparity between what Jesus teaches and what we accept as truth and understand how that truth applies to us!
We won’t have discipline until we have that one thing that we have overlooked of the Holy Ghost. We won’t have any resolve on the major matters of life until we have that one thing that we have overlooked of the Holy Ghost. God tells us that He has not given us the spirit of fear, but rather He has given us the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind! That power, in part at least, is conviction!
The Holy Ghost places convictions in our hearts, in our lives if you will. Spiritual convictions are Divinely created, emplaced and empowered. Convictions shape our morals and direct our devotions. The strength of conviction is far more powerful than anything that threatens us because of our convictions. If you are threatened with injury or death if you don’t denounce and renounce Christ as Lord, if you have the conviction that He IS Lord you will not waver in your refusal to renounce Him!
However, if you concede that He is Lord you will quite likely be pressured into renouncing Him as Lord! Peter did just this the night before the crucifixion of Jesus, precisely as Jesus foretold! Yet, after the resurrection and the advent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, nothing - - NOTHING could persuade, threaten, force or in any way coerce Peter to be silent about who Jesus Christ is! Beatings, imprisonment, threats against his life and eventually his own execution could not change his mind nor silence his mouth!
Yet how faithful are we today who claim to belong to Christ Jesus? Are we steadfast because of our convictions or are we directed by convenience? Are you a faithful minister of Christ in the workplace or is the inconvenience of losing your job and then possibly everything else keeping you silent and ineffective?
Some years ago there lived a young man who had committed to teaching a young men’s Sunday School class for a quarter of the calendar year. Some weeks into his commitment circumstances arose that his employment required him to work on Sundays. Against the advice and admonitions of his fellow workers, his union representative, against his supervisors, some church members and even his wife, this man insisted on fulfilling his commitment to teach those young men about Jesus.
The pressure grew and increased, threats against his job were presented every week and nearly everyone called him a fool. Yet this man had the conviction of two things: First that Jesus is Lord which meant that He is in control of what would or would not happen and even if he lost his job that Jesus would provide another as good or perhaps better! Second, he had the conviction that his actions would speak louder than his words in teaching those young men about faith, trusting God, resting in Jesus and much more!
God directed all the circumstances such that the young man completed his commitment to teach for the balance of the quarter and he was not so much as given a written reprimand on his employment file!
Yet apparently, most of the other people in his congregation were moved by what was convenient and had no spiritual convictions to empower them to encourage this man to be faithful to his commitment! Had it been any of these other people, it seems that they would have excused themselves using rationalization and logic to justify their abandoning their commitment!
Commitment without conviction is a recipe for compromise and compromise always gives the enemies of God some measure of control over our lives!
Commitment based on convictions, on the other hand, produces undefeatable integrity in our lives! When those convictions and commitments are Godly and spiritual, we will be able at the end of our lives to declare, as did Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
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