Skip to main content

Living in the open

Conviction of heart really refers to not only the condition of the heart, but the 'bent' of the heart. Which way will we choose more than once when offered the choice? This is often the 'conviction' of our heart. We find we pursue one direction more than another - maybe not all the time, but this particular choice rises to the surface repeatedly. It may be a good direction to choose, or it may leave us feeling a little out of sorts because we know it wasn't the best choice at all. It is our actions, not so much our words, that reveal the real convictions of our heart. We always hear that we "cannot judge a book by its cover" and this is so very true. I have learned what is hidden in the heart is what is manifest in the actions - if not openly, then in secret. We have a huge opportunity to affect how the world sees Jesus based on what actions we reveal to the world. We have an equal opportunity to affect how we see ourselves by the choices we make in secret! Remember this - our faith is revealed in our works - both those openly performed and those secretly pursued.

"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable." (Matthew 5:10-12)

Conviction is defined in several ways. Personally, conviction is being fully convinced by the evidence so as to be able to stand firmly on the facts presented - unmovable, resolute, and wholly determined to pursue that truth. We become a dynamic evidence of God's grace when we model that grace to others. We are "evidence" that helps to convince others of the unmerited favor of a holy God. Conviction is also the state of standing "confident" - in times of public action and in those of secret choice. There is nothing that conveys living a really "solid" life than being able to speak and act with assurance - knowing what we believe and in whom our trust is fully placed. Equally, making consistently right choices is evidence of the grace of God working in our lives.

Conviction also carries the idea of being convinced. Conviction comes from a Latin word "convictus" - meaning to convince. When we are "convinced" of something, we move from a place of just being acquainted with the evidence at hand into a place of belief, agreement, and consent. The evidence results in a transition - we have a solid footing upon which to stand. Jesus challenged his disciples with the idea of persecution - telling them that it would actually cause them to be drawn closer to the Kingdom of God. What he is saying here is that persecution actually drives us closer to the heart of God - it urges us to turn to what we know we can trust. The outcome of that closeness to God's heart is that we have a testimony that presents the evidence of God's grace, justice, and love. This kind of "evidence" makes people who don't know God in the same way do just a little uncomfortable - it affects the status quo.

Jesus was not giving his disciples (and us) the marching order to "mess with people's minds" or even our own minds. He simply is telling us to live in such a way that we are totally convinced of what it is we believe and allow that "firmness of faith" to become that which brings the conviction to our heart and then to the hearts of others. We are simply presenting the evidence - the conviction is delivered by the evidence! We cannot judge a book by its cover, but we can learn much about the "author" by exploring the pages. Our depth of conviction is revealed in what the "author" of our lives has written on the pages of our heart. The best thing we can do is live our lives as open books! In open and in secret. With others and with ourselves. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…