Have you ever been convicted by God’s Word? Before you can answer that, you need to know what conviction is. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit where a person is able to see himself as God sees him: guilty, defiled, and totally unable to save himself… but it’s more than seeing yourself as guilty. It’s God pressing on your heart to repent of the sin that makes you guilty and to turn to His will.
Now that we have that definition out of the way, let’s get back to the question at hand: have you ever been convicted by God’s Word? Recently? Frequently? If you’re answer is no, you either need to read God’s Word more often, read it more closely, or take a good look at where your heart is.
Personally, I’m quite regularly convicted, though I wish more of that conviction came from the Bible. My wonderful, loving wife is quite proficient at noticing flaws in me. I’m actually quite thankful that she loves me enough to tell me these things and help me (I don’t think of it as nagging, like many husbands do, because I can see Kaylin’s heart in it). I need to work on seeing my flaws better on my own and being convicted from God’s Word rather than from my wife’s words, and I need to change, even if my flesh is telling me not to.
The truth is, though, that God asks a lot from us. He knows we will fail and stumble more often than any of us will want to admit, and He’s willing to forgive us in our failure, but He’s not particularly merciful toward the people who don’t acknowledge that He is our Lord and that He wants us to live very different lives than the rest of the world. If you read His Word to see what He is asking of us, it’s hard not to come away from that without some sort of realization that we still have some work to do before we are really living God-pleasing lives.
Here are a few verses as examples, and these are all just about money:
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
– Proverbs 22:9 ESV
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
– Luke 6:20 ESV
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
– Matthew 19:21-24 ESV
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
– Proverbs 22:7 ESV
You may not feel like you’re very rich, but if you’re reading this, you probably are. We have been given much, but we squander so much of it away trying to gain possessions that we can’t bring with us to heaven, instead of investing in eternity by using our resources to bring people to Christ and show them His love through our actions and giving. We’re so consumed by getting more stuff that we borrow money from creditors, making ourselves slaves to them and losing innumerable dollars in the process, when we could deny ourselves those few possessions, and give our few extra dollars to the poor instead of to the credit card companies and banks. Now we’re constantly drawn away from God by our countless toys and our stress over how we’re going to pay the bills, instead of turning toward God and letting Him show us how to live.
We’d be much better off in the long run (eternity) if we sold every one of our possessions, using the proceeds to help the poor, and relying on God to get us through each day than to continue living our “comfortable” lifestyles.
Would you rather be blessed with the kingdom of God, or try to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle? We have the choice to live for God, or live like the world, and this money bit is only one piece of that decision. Go ahead and read more of God’s Word to find what other things He wants to convict you about.