Today was a holiday in Italy. La Festa della Repubblica (Festival of the Republic). That means no school, everything is closed, and we take a Worthy Adventure. We took a trip to Citta di Castello (City of the Castle). It was pretty neat. The original city is still surrounded by the large stone city walls. Inside the city walls is a quaint little town, but still with a huge duomo (main church). I attempted to take some pictures, but I am little rusty. The city sits on the Tiber river so all around the city are nature walks and tons of outdoor activities. It is such a change of scenery to see green everywhere and everyday. There were times in Naples that I felt like I went months without seeing anything green. Today was a good holiday.
This morning I was doing some preparation for World Changers and came across a phrase that just sat with me. It was talking about the importance of Christians needing to spend time in God’s Word every day and walk away challenged and convicted. Those two words stayed with me all day. Challenged and convicted.
I have wondered all day how many believers let hearing a Sunday sermon or reading a verse a day suffice as their “time with God.” Or even just reading a quick devotional in the mornings as they run out of the door for work. Don’t get me wrong, I love devotionals. I keep one on my desk at work, one next to bed, and I am pretty sure there is one somewhere in my car. I have one with me here in Italy. I mainly use my devotionals when I need a refocusing moment. I taught 8th graders this past school year, I definitely utilized the devotional that sits on my desk. Occasionally I will read a devotional that just slaps me in the face and hits me right where I needed it to. Most of the time though, they are just gentle reminders. So what am I saying?
I am saying this…. your time with God needs to leave you challenged and convicted. Maybe I am being harsh, or irrational to think that this will occur every time you meet with God. I am not irrational. I am practical. Practically, I know that life happens and we won’t have a 5 hour quiet time every day. I know that. God knows that too. I am saying that when you do sit and have that time, you should have these results. Why? Why does a gentle lovely devotional not cut it?
Ok, wait, just to reiterate, devotionals are great. If all you have is 2 minutes to meet with God that day, then please, by all means take the two minutes and rejoice in it. A little time is by far better than no time. BUT….
If you sit down to meet with God, let me challenge you to be challenged and convicted every single time. What does it mean to be challenged and convicted?
We are sinful humans, loved and redeemed by a Holy, loving God. This life is temporary, and one day we will stand before Jesus, worship at His feet, and be made like Him. I wish that day was today. That day is not today, but today we are being made like Him. God is responsible for our new hearts, but we have a responsibility in the relationship as well. Our responsibility is to pursue holiness. If you are currently not pursuing holiness, I challenge you to consider doing so. That can be another blog for another day. Now, if our responsibility as sinful humans is to be pursuing holiness, then every time we open God’s holy word, we should see where we don’t measure up. Even if we measure pretty close….. we still aren’t there yet. God’s holy word should challenge our sinful selves to be in pursuit of that holiness. There is one slight problem here. We have to see our need first. Here is where conviction comes in.
Conviction ~ 1) a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
2) a firmly held belief or opinion.
Believer you need to walk away from God’s word convicted in two ways. First, you need to see your guilty position. If we can’t acknowledge our sin, then we won’t see a need for Jesus. See your sinfulness, and immediately see God’s saving grace. Second, you need to walk away firmly believing that what God’s word says is true and needs to be instated in your life. THAT should challenge you to then pursue that holiness that you fall short of.
I wonder, if this was how every person who claimed to be a Christian met with God, what would the world look like? What would our relationships look like? How would we love better? How would we serve better?
Be convicted of this. Be challenged to pursue it. Daily.