CONVENIENCE OR CONVICTION?
Acts 24:25; Rom 13:5
Most people do the things they do as a matter of convenience or conviction. With most it's convenience I'm afraid! Convenience, is to do things the easy way. This is what makes men and rivers crooked. Many are like Felix, they are waiting for a convenient time. But for most it never comes. Evil is more convenient to come by.
Conviction, on the other hand, compels a person to do what they must do. Do what's right even though not convenient. Conviction by definition means: An act or process of convincing; a fixed or strong belief. Conviction means that of which we are convinced-completely. Are we willing to serve God regardless of how much it costs.
Joseph had sincere convictions when his masters wife tried to get him to commit adultery (Genesis 39:1-23). It takes determination and strength to stand by your convictions. What do you suppose you would have done? Have you ever wondered about this? I have.
There are several examples of individuals in the Bible from which we may draw some lessons. Some are good, some very bad. We should emulate the good and avoid the bad.
CONSIDER JUDAS ISCARIOT
Matt. 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Luke 22:6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Judas betrayed his Lord for 30 pieces of silver. He is called the "son of perdition" in the Scriptures, meaning "final ruin." A clear case of one once saved being eternally lost (Acts 1:15-20; John 17:12).
Noah lived in a very wicked world. Gen. 6:5-8 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; Noah could have joined the majority and would not have been ridiculed. But this course, although convenient, would have lost not only his soul but the souls of seven others. In Hebrews 11:7 we learn how his faith worked. 1 Pet. 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
He took the easy path when he "pitched his tents toward Sodom." Gen. 13:10,11 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from he other. As time went on things became complicated. Gen. 18. God decided to destroy all the cities of the plain. Things changed. Luke 17:28-32 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lots wife. 2 Peter 2:7-9 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
He was an old man, and had weathered the change of government under three different rulers and had remained in favor. The only way he could be faulted was for his devotion to God. Dan. 6:5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. The decree not to petition any god or man save the king for thirty days or be cast into the den of lions (Vs-7-25).He did not change his devotion to God. Dan. 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
CONSIDER PETER AND JOHN.
The rulers could not deny the miracles performed- Acts 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. So they commanded the apostles not to preach. Acts 4:17-18 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. The convenient thing would have been to quit. Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 5:27-29 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this mans blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
The convenient thing for Paul would have been to remain as a persecutor of the church. He was popular, well paid, in the majority; But he couldnt do it because he had seen the Lord, and obeyed His gospel now he is willing to die for the one that he once persecuted. 1 Tim. 1:12-14 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Woe is me if I preach not the gospel. 1 Cor. 9:16-17 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
How do you operate? Is it based on conviction or is it convenience? When hard decisions must be made, then what? It isn't easy. One cannot help but be impressed with the change in the apostle Paul after his conversion to Christ. He gave up everything most people count dear in order to become a bond servant of Jesus Christ. He wrote of this in Philippians 3:7-15. Once when the brethren tried to keep him from getting "in harms way" at Jerusalem, he said the following: "What mean ye to weep and break my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13). What a great example for you and me! He followed Christ's example and said, "..follow me.." (1 Cor. 11:1). See also (Philippians 4:9; Galatians 2:20). I have always been very impressed with this great man. I am even more impressed with the one who lived, died and was resurrected and exalted whom he served, Jesus Christ. He is our perfect example and we should all be like Him in every way conceivable (1 Peter 2:19-25). How well are you and I doing do you suppose?
Consider these things my friends and brethren. Do we live our life by conviction or by that which is convenient for us at any given time and circumstance? Paul said, "the just shall live by faith..."(Romans 1:17). Consider Hebrews chapter eleven). You know something? It was not very convenient for our Lord and Master to go to the cross! Yet His conviction and desire to please His heavenly Father as well as the sins of mankind made such a sacrifice essential before man could be allowed to go free under the terms of this "Good News" we know as the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16-17). --
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