Aug 12, 2011
Why do you do what you do? Is it a thought or a feeling? Is it a rule or a law?
I’ve been trying to stress home the idea of living a life of being led by the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not by any other thought, feeling or idea.
When I was much younger attending church, one of the first theological words I heard was conviction. Is the Holy Spirit convicting you of something? When you did that wrong thing, did you feel conviction?
But not until the last several years has the Lord begun to specifically define and show to me what that word conviction really looks and feels like. And how the Holy Spirit truly leads us in our lives.
One definition of the word conviction is referring to when Paul is preaching and it states that he preached with conviction, or forcefulness.
There are actually two Greeks words for conviction in the context I am referring to and not what I expected to find. You may find a full word study on the word conviction by clicking here.
The first meaning is ‘full assurance’ and the other is ‘correction’. The use correction is only used once when Paul was talking to Timothy in:
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Hmmm, the scripture, not the Holy Spirit, is for correction. Just like a textbook not the teacher.
I don’t think I would get any argument if I made the statement that this is a harsh world. A world where we are introduced to pain and suffering at a very young age. There are mean people in this world doing mean things.
Even our own parents, as much as they loved us, didn’t always discipline and correct the way that was appropriate. I know as a parent myself, I can look back and see that sometimes I did whatever it took to get them to do what I wanted or needed them to do.
If I had to spank them, I would. If I had to ground them, I would. If I had to yell and scream, I would. If I had to place guilt on them, I would.
But I’ll be the first to admit, I was not a perfect parent. In fact, I was far from it. But our Father God is a perfect parent and doesn’t parent at all the way we do. And the Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide here on this earth and a perfect and gentle teacher, always leading us not pushing us.
But since all that we know is the parenting we have experienced here on this earth we automatically associate it to our Father God.
So when we hear from the pulpit that the Holy Spirit will convict us, our minds go to something difficult and highly unpleasant. We usually associate feeling guilty.
As we grow older in the Lord we don’t sever that feeling of guilt from true conviction.
Let me give you some examples:
You go to church every Sunday because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?
You give offerings because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?
You try to ‘be good’ because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?
Are you starting to think now? Look back and the feelings that you have and the thoughts that you have in these instances?
As I began to ponder this myself, I really wanted to know what it was that was motivating me to do the things I did. I wanted a clean heart and a clear conscience and I wanted to do things out of the leading of the Holy Spirit and not for any other reason.
Then the Lord began to teach me about conviction versus guilt. Guilt and condemnation come from the enemy. So Father God would never use the emotion of guilt to correct or to move us. So the very first thing I had to do was to learn to resist guilt. The moment a thought or feeling of guilt would enter my mind, I would take it captive and reject it. 2 Corinthians 10:15
So then what and how does the Holy Spirit lead? Picture these two examples:
In one you are held at knife point and are poked and prodded to move forward against your will while feeling dread and remorse. But you move because the sharp point of the guilt-knife hurts!
In the second, you are a sweet young puppy and you have a safe and comfortable harness on. You have a leash attached to the chest portion of the harness. You feel a slight tug from the leash, just below the center of your chest. It is a gentle tug, one that could easily be missed if you weren’t paying attention and there is a gentle loving voice urging you to come. But when you do recognize it, you get up and move forward, at your own pace being led in the correct direction.
We must practice to learn to silence guilt and listen with a slightly turned ear to the voice of the Spirit, to learn to feel that tug in the center of our being.
Psalms 46:10: Cease striving and know that I am God; …