Giving Pause: Taking Action When Conviction comes

ImageSomething happened to me Sunday just before I got up to speak at The Gathering.  Clearly, the Spirit of God was working through the time of worship and I had the impression that we needed to pause…I knew I needed to pause.  Things weren’t right.  Earlier that morning, I had gotten upset with my 12 year-old son because he was acting like a 12 year-old.  The nerve of that kid!  I’m ashamed to say that I was, too.  Thankfully, I’m the only dad who does that kind of thing.  What would the world be like if every father responded to their kids in a less-than-mature way?

I was reminded of Matthew 5:23-24:

23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

I fell under heavy conviction that morning in worship and had the feeling there were others who had, as well, for one thing or another.  I took a few minutes after a very moving time of worship to deal with these things in silence, during which I went to my son and begged his forgiveness.  It’s one thing to feel remorse, but that is worth little unless it drives us to acts of repentance and restoration.  It seems others in worship that morning experienced something like that, too, as at least a few people moved towards others within worship to address personal issues.

I don’t know about you, but I find it so easy to become wrapped up in pride to the point that relationships become strained or damaged as a result sometimes.  The beautiful thing is that, when we decide to repent, both to God for a childish attitude, and the other person we had the issue with, forgiveness generally flows easily.

My son was quick to forgive me as I repented and gave my assurance that I am going to work much harder in submitting to God’s leadership in making me a godly role model for him. I want the legacy I leave to be a positive one.

So, do you struggle in this area, too?  Do you find yourself acting the juvenile in relationships sometimes?  How quick are you to repent?  How quick are you to forgive when wronged?  What are some things you do to maintain an attitude of humble submission and repentance when you are wrong?

Can I Get A Witness? – 1 John 4:13-17

I had the opportunity to talk with a young lady after worship yesterday who is dealing with a lot of spiritual issues.  In tears, she said to me that she felt lost.  I asked in what sense she meant that and she told me that it seemed she was adrift at sea without any direction.  Remembering that on another occasion she had told me she had trusted Christ, I asked her about her relationship with Him.  She said, “I thought I had trusted in Jesus, but there has been nothing in my life to give evidence of that.”

I remembered back to John’s teaching in chapter 3, verse 6 [see commentary here]: “No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known Him.”  As we talked, she was right — there had been absolutely no transformation in her life since she “prayed a prayer.”  She still was unable and/or unwilling to give up the lifestyle choices she had made that were leading to destruction.

I suppose the good thing about this is that she continues to feel drawn at this point.  She still feels the tug of conviction, but she doesn’t have that ever-important element that John describes in the reading for today: the inner testifying of the Spirit of God that we are children of God.  The transforming work of love is carried out in our lives and we, then, “have confidence for the day of judgment…”.

I have great hope that she will truly come to trust in Christ because of the evidence that He is drawing her in to Himself, but when there is no transformation and no inner testimony of the Spirit that we are saved, there can be no justification.

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