The Voice of Accusation Vs. Conviction

accusation vs conviction.png

After my sermon this past weekend (March 11/12), I got a huge amount of feedback about how helpful it was. Which is always encouraging – it was a good Sunday afternoon! Thank you!

But, I’ve also received this question a few times since then: How can you tell the difference between the voice of the accuser, and the voice of God convicting you of sin? Well, the answer is actually pretty easy…

Accuser: “You are wrong.”
God: “That choice was wrong.”

Accuser: “You are so bad.”
God: “That wasn’t right.”

Accuser: “See, you’re so worthless. Why bother trying?”
God: “You are pure, holy and blameless. You don’t need to live that way anymore.”

Are you seeing the difference? Satan accuses you – of you. God convicts you – not of you, but of sin and your calling to live into who you really are.

So, when God convicts us, it’s of our actions, not of our personal value or worth to Him. When the accuser accuses us, he takes our actions and then says that they are what determine our value and worth. 

God doesn’t guilt, He convicts. So, when you feel weighed down with guilt, shame and worthlessness, that isn’t from God. The difference is, when God convicts me of my sin (which is often), I know I’ve done something wrong. When Satan accuses me, I feel that I am intrinsically wrong.

The other thing to watch for is the outcome of the “conviction/accusation.”
With the accuser, his voice always leads to depression, shame, silence and despondency (or inaction). With God, His conviction leads to repentance, which literally means “changed behaviour” – a different way to live. With the accuser, his voice causes us to run from God – we hide (i.e. look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). With God, His conviction leads to a greater reliance on Him and a desire to follow Him, knowing that He is faithful and just to cleanse us from every single wrong.

So, Satan tries to tempt us into believing our life is based on what we do (or fail to do). But, Christ has already done everything and so God’s conviction is based on living fully in that reality, not trying to earn it. 

May you hear God’s Spirit this week clearly, closely and personally, and may you not give the voice of the accuser the time of day.

A Challenge from the Past: Giving, Wealth, Hospitality, and John Wesley

My dad was first a pastor in the Free Methodist Church of Canada. Coming from that background I’ve always appreciated the writing and person of John Wesley.

Recently, while reading some of his stuff, I came across a few quotes from him that I found really challenging. So if you don’t feel like being challenged too, maybe just skip the rest of the blog post.

Wesley wrote this:

“One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them…The distance that wealthy people are now able to put between them and the poor makes them less likely to appreciate the need for hospitality.”

Wow how true is that? One great reason why those who are rich have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them. That just hits home, because I know I am rich. While I’m not rich in North American terms I am incredibly rich in light of the rest of the world. This quote made think about my sympathy for others who are struggling in my neighborhood and in Africa. It made me think about whether or not I’m willing to open my house, my life, and my world to those who need comfort and true welcome. It made me think about whether I am too isolated and insulated from those with true needs. In general, it made me think a lot. But I don’t think that’s the point.

I don’t think Wesley wrote it so I would think deep thoughts. I think he wrote it so I might take action. So that’s what I’m going to do today. I’m going to try to act on my convictions and go from there. Maybe if that quote got you to thinking, you should see if it can’t move you to acting as well…