Sunday, May 26, 2013

The mysterious work of conviction

diagram - seed to plant
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 16:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment." John 16:8

"The work of God is hidden and silent; what we do is something distinct and tangible. Conversion and faith, prayer and obedience are conscious acts of which we can give a clear account; while the spiritual quickening and strengthening that comes from above are secret and beyond the reach of human sight." Andrew Murray - Abide In Christ

I never tire of listening to the story of my husband's conversion.

He was working in Toronto for a trust company at the time and loved two things: his work and his time off. He spent the latter with friends at the bar.

Though he had grown up in a Christian home and gone to church as long as his parents could force him to, he had long since left all that behind. However, they continued to send him stuff like new translations of the Bible and Christian books. And they continued to pray even though it didn't look as if their prodigal was any closer to coming to the Lord than he had been for years. Things were happening though, and on various fronts.

It was during this time that Anita Bryant  came to Toronto. Her presence at People's Church led to demonstrations against her and the brouhaha gave my husband pause as he realized he was on the side of the controversial speaker, even though he didn't know why.

His bar life began to satisfy him less and less. He watched as his married friends spent their evenings drinking with the guys and wondered why they weren't at home with their wives and families. He realized that if he married, he wanted his wife to be someone with whom he could build a lasting relationship, preferably a Christian. But what Christian woman would want to marry him?

He started watching Christian programs on TV. In fact, before stumbling into bed after coming home liquored up late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, he'd set his alarm to wake him in time to watch People's Church.

Finally one holiday he decided that instead of going to Montreal, he'd stay home (where he had a pool and bar buddies) and read one of the books his dad had recently sent him. It was while reading that book (Born Again by Chuck Colson) that he took the final step and surrendered his life to Jesus.

His story bears out the truth of Jesus' words about the work of the Holy Spirit. While his parents and others prayed, the Holy Spirit was busy convicting him and drawing him, though, as Andrew Murray points out, it was a hidden work.

Are you praying for a loved one but getting discouraged because you see no evident change, no progress toward God? Stay the course. The Holy Spirit is still in the business of convicting. Though that process is often hidden with no exterior signs that much is going on, in the fullness of time it will come out.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the convicting work of Holy Spirit. Help me to trust that You are working in the spiritual lives of people I'm praying for even when I don't see outward evidence. Amen.

MORE: A sense of particular sin

"When I get into the presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense; I realize the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life .... This is always the sign that a man or woman is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular. God begins by convicting us of the one thing fixed on in the mind that is prompted by His Spirit; if we will yield to His conviction on that point, He will lead us down to the great disposition of sin underneath" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, July 3 reading. 

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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1 comment:

  1. Love that the Holy Spirit used the words of Chuck Colson, Violet, another one of those writers who are Christian :)


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