I don’t know about you, but one of the great powers of the Holy Spirit that I sometimes find difficult is conviction. It involves not only my faith but my fear of the holy God. It’s not something we discuss often in church because it makes us uncomfortable.
“We know things about God, but we don’t know God.” – Leonard Ravenhill
There’s very little conviction in the church anymore. Instead, we’re married to complacency.
Where is our fear of God?
We preach love; we preach acceptance. We come to church on Sunday, sing our songs, and then go back into the world like nothing has changed.
Where is our anguish for the lost?
How do you know the person seated next to you right now isn’t going to hell? That person is a beautiful soul that Jesus loves and desires to save! Shouldn’t that mean something to us? Shouldn’t that galvanize us to get on our knees and pray?
Should we not do something?
Nehemiah thought so:
“They said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.’ When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:3-4 NLT)
Our world, not to mention our own lives and that of our families, is already in ruins. Just like Jerusalem was. We often weep when we see the wreckage. We feel that pain.
But how often do we weep for those we know are lost? Do we mourn and fast, like Nehemiah did? Or do we chalk his reaction up to a poignant metaphorical Bible story that may or may not have happened, twist it into an excuse to turn a blind eye?
Think of your family. Your children. Your parents. Friends. Coworkers. People you sit next to on the bus and walk past in the grocery store. Will they be standing beside you in the glory of the Lord? Or will they perish because they never heard, never saw salvation lived out through you?
We are not called to live complacent lives. We’re meant to speak about Jesus. We’re meant to present him in our speech and our actions. No one promised it would be easy or happy. We’re only promised that we won’t have to do it alone because he is with us. We’re promised a love greater than any other love. We’re promised a joy and peace that we cannot find without Jesus.
How selfish of us to hoard that peace and joy that’s meant for all mankind!
How selfish of me, too.
This week, I’m going to take a page out of Nehemiah’s book. Will you join me? Let’s pray and fast for the people in our lives.
They’re worth it.
And so are you.