Conviction vs. Condemnation
Can you tell if someone has received conviction from the Holy Spirit, or just feel plain guilty? Is there even a difference?
Not only are the two worlds apart, but without true conviction no one can come to the Lord or really deal with their sin. If people keep running away from you, then this is a good sign that they feel guilty. Unfortunately guilt does not bring change. So what is the difference and how can you bring REAL conviction to others?
Understanding the Difference between Conviction and Guilt
You need to keep in mind that conviction and guilt are not the same thing. Conviction is applied by the Holy Spirit. It is nothing we have control of. It is His work alone. And when you start taking into your own hands the task of bringing a person to conviction, what you are in fact doing is bringing a person under guilt and condemnation.
The Lord can convict without you even having to preach a convicting message. I remember a story of Smith Wigglesworth who boarded a train. He was put in a compartment with unbelievers. He just kept to himself and stayed out of their conversation.
Not long into the trip, each of them began falling on their faces repenting, asking to be forgiven. Wigglesworth did not even need to say anything! Just his mere presence convicted them! Jesus in him convicted them. Leave the work of conviction to the Lord. More often than not I have found that conviction comes when you least think about it!
When I have preached the most loving and exhortatory word, I have had people come back and say, "Your message dug so deep! It convicted me and made me see my sin." I thought, "What!!?? I was trying to exhort. My message was one of love and encouragement!" But you see, they saw the love of the Lord and felt His presence and they felt their filth in it. They saw their failure when they compared it to His love.
The #1 Way to Bring Conviction
One of the most powerful ways to bring change in a person is to show them love when they know they do not deserve it! When you say to a person, "You are so tender and caring. You are such a blessing to me, thank you," and they know very well they have not been, what a more powerful way to bring them to conviction! They realize that they do not deserve that love, because they have been behaving so badly!
However come to that same person and say, "You have been a rotten horrible sinner and you fail at every step," and immediately they will begin to defend themselves.
People will find conviction in the eyes of Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth, those who were convicted were the prostitutes and tax collectors. Yet, you never hear of him condemning them. You never hear a message of Jesus saying, "You who are prostitutes and thieves and murderers, I condemn you to hell! Repent you rotten sinners!"
No, He went amongst them and healed them. Just His presence convicted them. They saw love in His eyes and they knew they were not worthy of it.
Jesus condemned only the religious, and you do not read of them ever being convicted by His words. They were angered by His words, but their hearts were so closed, that the Spirit of God could not enter in and bring conviction.
So as you go out this week and as you minister to those around you, keep in your breast always the heart of Jesus. Remember His days on the earth and see how He treated the lowly and the sinner. Then look deep in your heart and ask the Lord how He would like you to treat them.
As you follow the simple principles covered in this article, you are going to find that the Lord is going to entrust you with more. You are going to get more response with what you share and you will see more positive results in the lives of others as you stretch out and bring God’s changing power into their lives!
Responses Posted For This Page
Post A Response To This Page