because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 NIV
It was a warm summer day and the youth group were waiting for their turn to raft the Ocoee River. At this point in the river, the water was slowly making its way over huge boulders spread out the full width of the river. Some boys found a 5 foot diameter water hole in the rocks.
This quickly presented a challenge to see if you could jump from 12 feet above and 8 foot out to reach the water hole. If you jumped too short or too long you would land on the boulders. Just saying that you could make the jump wasn’t enough, the fully convinced (not the wisest) led the way.
How do you develop deep conviction?
Remember Paul was only in this city for a few weeks before he had to flee for his life. During this time, enough people became followers of Jesus to establish a church. People heard the message demonstrated with power and the Holy Spirit. They also perceived that Paul was fully convinced in the truth of what he was sharing.
Conviction (plērophoria). This word is only used twice in the New Testament and is only found in Greek ecclesiatcial writings. It means to be fully convinced or assured.
The second usage of the word in the Bible helps bring a little more clarity to its meaning as found in Hebrews 10:22 (let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,). Deep conviction is connected to the exercising of faith.
I ask again, how do you develop deep conviction?
For the follower of Jesus, deep conviction of faith starts and is maintained by movemenment of trust toward the leading of the Holy Spirit. Peter asked if it was truly Jesus walking on the water, then invite him to come on the water also. Jesus said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and started walking on water. Walking on water did not originate with Peter’s thoughts. His faith in the invitation of Jesus allowed him to get in out of the boat.
Salvation is an expression of conviction from the Holy Spirit. Someone tells you that God loves you, but your sin has separated you from Him. When you accept by faith, that Jesus died for you and will give you forgiveness of your sins. You trust that Jesus will come to you and give you a new heart. The Holy Spirit was drawing you and inviting you to come to Jesus. Your movement to that invitation was the words that you prayed acknowledging your need.
As you continue in your steps of faithful response, your conviction grows deeper. At one point many of the followers of Jesus were leaving because of some tough teaching. Would the disciples leave also? Peter responded, “where else could we go, you alone have the words of life”. Your words and actions align with the belief and invitation to trust.
When you take the initiative to share the gospel, you are exhibiting the deep conviction of faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Being silent and not sharing the good news to others shorts circuits the joy found in living with deep conviction. There are a whole lot of people who have never heard, maybe they are waiting on your deep conviction to kick in.
Deep conviction exists when what you believe aligns with your words and actions. Paul adds to his comment by saying, “you know how we lived among you.” Paul was saying that our conviction was on full display in the words we spoke and how we conducted our lives among you.
May you be known as a Christian with deep convictions.
BTW – I jumped once and made it.
Blessings Love y’all