Posted by: Brian Musser | May 5, 2014

Convicted

Work-Ship – Week Four:  The Spirit At Work – Day Twenty-Six:  Convicted 

The first week we came to the conclusion that our definition of work must be based on God’s work.  If we are going to figure out what work is, how we are supposed to work and the proper place work should have in our lives it must be rooted in the way God works.  So we are in the middle of our three week exploration of the work of God organizing our conversation through the lens of the Trinity.

  • Week Two – The Father at Work
  • Week Three – The Son at Work
  • Week Four – The Spirit at Work

By the end of this week we will be finished with our three week examination into the work of God and we will be halfway done the entire 56 day devotional.  This week we will be looking at the work of the third member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.  Quite often the Holy Spirit is the overlooked or misrepresented member of the Trinity.  This is due to the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work.  God the Father’s work was in Creation, creating and sustaining it.  We can see tangible evidence of the Father’s work everywhere around us.  God the Son’s work was in history, redeeming and communicating.  We have the written records of the Son’s work.  But God the Holy Spirit works in the inner realm of humanity.  The Spirit’s work is to influence us.  The Spirit works on and in humanity empowering and convicting us.  This makes the Spirit’s work less accessible, less verifiable, less categorize-able.  The Spirit’s work is all about influence.  When we are at work influencing others we are working like the Holy Spirit.  This influence manifests itself in two broad categories:

  • Getting others to do good or empowering.
  • Getting others to stop doing evil or convicting.

Empowering and convicting are the two main ideas we will explore as we explore the work of the Holy Spirit.   We have spent several days looking at the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.  We have examined how the Holy Spirit gifts us to do good in connection with the Kingdom of God.  This is the positive work of the Holy Spirit.  Equipping us to do good.  Today we are changing direction and will be discussing the negative work of the Holy Spirit.  We will examine the work of the Holy Spirit to get others to stop doing evil.  This work is often called conviction.  We would be remiss if we did a discussion on the Holy Spirit that avoided John 14, 15 and 16 so this post will concentrate on those passages.

John 14:16-17  (HCSB)  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.  He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

John 15:26  (HCSB) When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.

A simply point we see in these two passages is that the Trinity always works in community.  This is something that we have mentioned before.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit work together.  I would like to remind us that since we are created in the image of a God who works in community it is good to assume that we are also created to work in community.

The second point I want to make from this passage is that the work of the Holy Spirit is within the context of a relationship with human beings.  We are able to receive the Holy Spirit because we are reconnected with God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Those who are disconnected from God and lost in their sins are not able to receive the Holy Spirit.  We know God and God knows us and that changes everything.  That makes sense to us though.  Relationship has so much to do with how we receive messages.  Your employer could say something and you would respond a certain way.  Then a customer could say the exact same thing and your response would be totally different.  Your husband or wife can give advice that would be dismissed immediately if it came from your child.  A friend can critique where a stranger only criticizes.  Relationship changes the information.  The Holy Spirit guides us in truth.  Within the context of a restored relationship with God that is awesome growing experience.  Without the relationship that will probably lead to painful denial.

John 16:8-11  (HCSB) When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment:  About sin, because they do not believe in Me;  about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me;  and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

So how does the Holy Spirit convict?  What are the pieces to the action of conviction?  In order to conviction the Holy Spirit has to know what is right.  In order to point out what is wrong, what is right needs to be understood.  The Holy Spirit needs to care about righteousness.  Doing what is right and encouraging others to stop doing evil needs to be important to the person of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit need to have a desire for righteousness that motivates Him into action.  The Holy Spirit needs to be able to communicate the error in an understandable way.  This communication not only needs to understandable but it also needs to be “winsome.”  The Holy Spirit needs to communicate to me so that I know what is wrong and I am interested in stopping it.

This creates a delicate line.  Conviction balances between accepting and/or condoning sin and overwhelming the sinner with guilt and shame.  If guilt is handled wrongly and too lightly I may not see the need to change.  If conviction is to heavy handed, I may lose all hope that change is possible.  I need to be encouraged to changed but not destroyed.  I need to be convicted but not condemned.  And this is how you can tell if you under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit motivates you to stop sinning and return to God.  Shame and condemnation motivates you to hide from God.  Condoning motivates you to ignore God.

At your job do you have a portion of it that is like the Holy Spirit and convicting?  Do you have to encourage others to do what is right and not do what is wrong?  There are many jobs that are very strongly based in this type of work.  Can you name a few?  How can you work more like God you need to convict and convince others to do what is right?

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