What Does It Take to Come
Under A Conviction
That Can Bring You to True Repentance?
I'm grieved that so many of those who seem to be converted to Christ do not
end up sticking with their commitment. But it's really not difficult to
understand why they fall away. If a seeker lacks true conviction and
repentance, it's likely he won't continue as a believer. The moment
he has an enticement to some shiny object of temptation, he'll likely be
swept back into the old life.
Don't confuse being convicted with being awakened. If you are only awakened, you may be more sensitive to the things of God, but you probably haven't fully given your heart to Christ.
Don't imagine that a simple acknowledgment that you're a sinner will get you a free ticket into heaven. Conviction is not just having a guilty conscious; many godless men feel some sense of guilt over their deeds, yet that changes nothing in their lives. It takes more than a pang of conscience to be fully convicted. Even if you have strong anxiety about the dreadful fires of hell which await you, that's still unlikely to make any difference in your eternal destiny. Knowing the consequences of your actions won't necessarily bring you to your knees.
How to Become Convicted
What is needed for you to gain entrance into God's family is for the Holy Spirit to break down the walls of your heart. And this will happen when you come under conviction. Here's how:
First, you must know your condition before God. The Bible declares exactly what your true spiritual condition is.
David said, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5 NIV). You see, the Bible teaches that our nature is evil right from the beginning. Almost no one who has had children would say that babies are truly born innocent. You came into this world screaming and kicking and demanding your own way.
Man's heart is wicked. "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT). So this is why Jesus said:
"What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person." (Mark 7:20-23 NIV). So while you may be tempted, the evil thoughts and desires are already lurking inside your heart and ready to show their raw nature when aroused.
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:a NIV). You may think you are a good person, but God sees your so-called "good works" as filthy, rotten, maggoty rags. He declares that your natural condition is pretty bleak.
Second, you must SEE your own sin. To be fully convicted, you will probably need to get up close and personal with your own sin so you can see it for what it really is. You probably won't like the idea of looking intently at our sin. But God wants you to be honest with yourself. David said about God: "You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom." (Psalm 51:6 NAS).
Have you shut your eyes to the depravity inside of your heart? Have you kept "the real you" locked up inside of your head, sweeping your lustful thoughts and deeds under the rug so that they can be ignored? If so, God is saying to you, "now is the time to open up your heart and really look at yourself—before its too late." The Holy Spirit is working right now to fill your heart with real conviction which can lead you to full repentance and salvation.
To feel the way God feels about your sin, you have to see what he sees.
a. Pull out a piece of paper and write down some of your deeds. I would abbreviate as you may need a lot of space. Write down your bitter feelings, your aggravations, addictions, sexual indiscretions, bad attitudes, selfish desires and anything else that the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
b. Think of the things you should have done but did not do. Write those down too. Unless you're just lying to yourself or playing mental games inside of your head, your paper will probably be filled with notes of your indiscretions and lack of righteous living. I'm sure what ends up on the paper will only scratch the surface of your true deeds and what's really inside of your heart, because most of us are just too easy on ourselves.
c. Now stop and look more carefully at this list of sins and imagine how some of these specific acts and attitudes have hurt God. Try to feel how he must view your attitudes and actions. Focusing on your sin helps you see it more clearly. When you attempt to admit the truth about yourself to God it is a step in the right direction.
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalms 139:23-24 NIV).
You want to see yourself from God's point of view. "For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like." (James 1:23-24 NLT). So it is essential that you SEE yourself and your sins in the light of God's holy word.
Your Sin and God
Ultimately, all our sin is against God. David said: "Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. (Psalm 51:4 NLT).
"Your way, O God, is holy; what god is great like our God?" (Psalm 77:13 NAS). God's holiness totally saturates his being and therefore he cannot stand the sight of sin.
Your sins impact your ability both to hear God and to be heard by him. "It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." (Isaiah 59:2 NLT).
"O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked." (Psalm 5:4 NLT). God is holy and set apart from sin. He therefore hates sin; it is totally against his nature. Now while God does not hate sinners, he has promised that he will eventually punish those that do not repent of their sin.
"I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless." (Isaiah 13:11 NIV).
Whose Slave Are You?
The life of Samson was a tragedy despite being given extraordinary strength and power by God. In the end, his rebellion towards the Lord caused him to be thrown into slavery and physically blinded by the Philistines. Your sin will lead you into spiritual blindness and into a life of bondage to sin if you don't open your eyes to what's really happening.
"Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living." (Romans 6:16 NLT).
You need to be convicted over the contemptibleness of your own sin. Just coming into the light of God's presence, seeing his holiness and purity, should bring you to your knees. I hope you'll be like Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet who was allowed to come into the presence of God and found himself immediately overwhelmed by his own wretched spiritual condition:
"Woe to me... I am ruined!" Then he said, "It's all over! I am doomed, for I
am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy
lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven's Armies." (Isaiah 6:5
Coming under conviction involves fathoming the utter evilness of sin. Our attitude toward sin must be like Joseph's when he was tempted to commit immorality with the wife of his employer. In resisting the woman's bold seduction, he cried out, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9b NAS).
So to follow through on your own conviction, you must "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4:8 NIV).
As you come in closer contact with God, you will be able to see things more clearly. "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5 NIV).
I invite you now to take a closer look at the "Four Revolutionary Steps" to aid in completing your spiritual journey through the narrow door that leads to becoming a true Christian. Click on How to Become A Christian. and How to Repent of Your Sins.