Letting Conviction Develop Us
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:11-15, ESV)
No matter how long you’ve been a Christian– whether you’re on day one or decades from the starting line– everyone that has ever followed Jesus is unified by at least this fact: none of us have ever graduated from the point of salvation.
Because no matter how long your spiritual resume is, it is unavoidable that you will struggle with your own tendency towards sin until the day you die. Maybe that’s blunt or depressing, but it’s true. There
will never be a point in this life where you will be able to think, “Well, that’s it. I’ve done it. I’ve obtained a wholly righteous and upright lifestyle. I will no longer struggle with sin.”
The truth is, our struggle with sin is a daily battle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll stop myself dead in the midst of a thought process and think to myself, “Where did that even COME from?!” At which point, I have to take my entire line of thinking and submit it to Jesus, bringing those thoughts captive to the only one who can take my own sick depravities and make my mind clean again.
And I’m sure you’ve been there, too. And if that’s the case, then why do we as Christians struggle to be vulnerable and admit to one another that we struggle in our flesh and with sin?
The answer is that the nature of our flesh is quick to cover up our wrong actions. Instead of admitting to conviction and leaning into it, allowing it to change our lifestyle and our character, we look to cover it up. What no one readily admits is that denying our convictions and portraying to the world that we have it under control is in complete rebellion to the Gospel and the work Jesus did on the cross.
You see, just like it says in today’s key verse, what Jesus did on the cross was the most beautiful and profound message in the history of the world. It revealed the Father. It put on display His awesome power and passionate love. Jesus’ death welcomed us with open arms into salvation, something that gave us access to the endless riches that God patiently waited for generations to extend to us.
So you see, no matter how long ago you let Jesus into your heart and gave Him your life, you will never reach a point on this side of eternity where you are able to stop holding onto salvation. Your salvation is the constant reminder to put off your selfish and worldly natures. The verses above go as far as telling us to renounce them, which means not just letting them go, not just quietly making adjustments, but verbally and adamantly rejecting them.
The cross wasn’t some quiet moment that passed without any recognition. The empty tomb wasn’t some soft or gentle deed meant to go without notice. It was a powerful statement. It was a grand and sweeping movement. And we are called to live lives that rise to the occasion of that event.
What does that mean? It means radical, apparent, and boisterous life change. It means waking up every day and choosing a self-controlled lifestyle that pleases the Lord. It means living within the Spirit-filled parameters that Jesus created for us in order that we could live full and Kingdom-oriented lives that are sacrificed to His goodness.
Do we get it right every day? No, but when we miss that standard of purity, He extends grace; and that is a beautiful testament to your unsaved peers and colleagues that are observing the marks of your Christian lifestyle.
When you feel that conviction creeping up on you, or you realize that you have ulterior motives that don’t glorify God, you don’t have to hide in shame. You don’t have to fall apart or disqualify yourself. That conviction is good; it indicates that you still have a desire to be with Jesus and draw nearer to Him. It means you’re still sensitive to His work on the cross and His victory from the grave. It means you get it, friend.
So be encouraged today. Fight your sin struggles with all the self-control, purity, and godly power within you. As you wrestle it, remember your salvation and rely on it. Use it as a reminder to keep passionately serving Jesus and living a life that would make Him proud.
Be the Spirit-filled faith rockstar He made you to be. Ask the Lord for spiritual discernment and wisdom, so that you can face the day and lean into your convictions. Be brave, friend. You can do it.